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Published: Friday, 8/15/2008

Olympics roundup: American Blake stuns Federer

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BEIJING - Roger Federer directed an angry scream toward his feet. He swatted a stray ball in frustration. He slapped his thigh, hung his head, and stomped behind the baseline.

And finally, he questioned calls, something he hates to do. That merely made him madder: He went 0-4 on replay challenges.

For Federer, it was that kind of night. It has been that kind of year.

Federer's long slump continued and the bid for his first Olympic singles medal ended yesterday when he lost to American James Blake.

So began an upset parade in the quarterfinals. Serena Williams lost to Elena Dementieva of Russia, and as the clock approached midnight, Venus Williams was beaten by Li Na of China.

Matches were delayed 3 hours, 35 minutes at the start because of rain, pushing back the schedule. With four matches still in progress and top-ranked Jelena Jankovic about to begin against Dinara Safina, rain at 1:15 a.m. forced a halt until today.

With the sort of lackluster performance once unthinkable for the stylish Federer, he was eliminated 6-4, 7-6 (2).

The No. 5-seeded Dementieva, who won a silver medal in Sydney in 2000, raced to a 5-0 lead in the final set and held on to beat Serena Williams 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. The unseeded Li then delighted a partisan center-court crowd by eliminating Venus Williams 7-5, 7-5.

Tyson Gay easily made it through the first round of the Olympic 100-meter dash today.

Racing for the first time since crumpling to the track with a hamstring injury six weeks ago, America's fastest sprinter enjoyed a smooth debut at the Beijing Games, coasting to the finish to win his preliminary heat in 10.22 seconds.

World record-holder Usain Bolt and fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell also advanced comfortably, winning their heats.

While China's Yang Wei added the individual gold to the team title, Americans weren't able to add anything to their bronze collection. Jonathan Horton finished ninth, and Sasha Artemev was 12th.

Things might have been different if reigning champ Paul Hamm was healthy. Without him, it was Yang's to lose and he never came close to that, winning by nearly three points over Kohei Uchimura of Japan. Benoit Caranobe of France won the bronze.

All racing at the Olympic sailing venue was canceled yesterday due to lack of wind and low visibility.

Former Perrysburg resident Anna Tunnicliffe is at the top of the Laser Radial class after three races. She will be back in action today when the winds are expected to be stronger.

After posting shutouts and no-hitters in its first two games, the Americans faced their first deficit since the gold-medal game in 2000. And it took some weird circumstances.

The Canadians scored a run without a hit when an umpire ruled that pitcher Monica Abbott made three illegal pitches; her violation was losing contact with the pitching rubber. One of the illegal pitch do-overs led to an error by center fielder Caitlin Lowe, her first in 123 games since joining the U.S. team.

The game was postponed in the fourth inning because of the rain, and the teams will resume play today following the U.S.-Japan game.

Stephen Strasburg of San Diego State took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, Matt LaPorta hit a three-run homer, and Matt Brown added a solo shot as the Americans bounced back from losing their opener by beating the Netherlands 7-0.

The game was called off after eight innings following a second rain delay.

The Three Musketeers of the U.S. women's saber team weren't so good as a team. After sweeping the individual medals, Mariel Zagunis, Sada Jacobson, and Becca Ward settled for bronze after a surprising loss in the semifinals. They were knocked off by Ukraine, which went on to win gold.



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