- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 14, 2008

BEIJING | Perhaps Roger Federer‘s not washed up yet.

Signaling his recent tailspin may be over, Federer avenged a loss four years ago at the Olympics by beating Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-6 (4) on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals.

It was Federer’s biggest victory since he lost to Rafael Nadal in an epic Wimbledon final last month.

Federer wept after losing to Berdych in the second round at the Athens Games in 2004. This time he was shouting “Yes!” and punching the air after he smacked a service winner on match point to finish off Berdych.

“Of course you have memories of such a big tournament and losing,” Federer said. “He’s a good player. So I’m very happy with this win because I think this was the first true test in this tournament.”



Nadal also advanced, digging out of a hole in a pivotal service game and beating Igor Andreev of Russia 6-4, 6-2. Venus and Serena Williams won to remain on course for a sibling showdown in the women’s final Saturday.

Nadal and Federer could meet for the gold medal Sunday. Regardless of the tournament outcome, Nadal is assured of climbing to No. 1 in the rankings next week, ending Federer’s 4 1/2-year reign.

Federer will next face No. 8 James Blake, who advanced by beating No. 10 Gilles Simon of France 6-4, 6-2. Blake, the lone U.S. male to survive the first round of singles, is 0-8 against Federer and has won only one of their 22 sets.

“If he’s too good for me, he’s too good for me,” Blake said. “Every time at the beginning of each match, I’ve felt like I could come out on top.”

Blake is part of an American team that has gone 11-0 the past two days. The Bryan brothers won in doubles, as did Lindsay Davenport and Liezel Huber.

No. 3 Novak Djokovic, who could face Nadal in the semifinals, beat No. 13 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 7-6 (3), 6-3.

No. 4 Serena Williams busted a racket in frustration over a slow start, then rallied to beat 18-year-old Alize Cornet of France 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Williams’ outburst came as she fell behind 5-1 in the first set.

“I’ve been really working on my temper,” she said. “But I was just making so many errors, and I wasn’t practicing like that at all. It came to a point, I think I hit a backhand in the net, and I had just had enough.”

Williams gradually tamed her erratic groundstrokes, and after managing a service break in the opening game of the final set, she held in five consecutive games for the victory.

Venus Williams, playing her first tournament since winning Wimbledon for the fifth time, also reached the final eight by defeating No. 12 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-3, 6-2. Venus, seeded seventh, is seeking to add to her Olympic medal collection after winning the doubles with her sister and the singles at Sydney in 2000.

Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, who this week achieved the No. 1 ranking for the first time, beat No. 16 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 7-5, 6-1. Jankovic’s next opponent will be No. 6 Dinara Safina of Russia, riding a 13-match winning streak after beating Zheng Jie of China 6-4, 6-3.

In doubles, top-seeded Mike and Bob Bryan of the United States beat Julian Knowle and Jurgen Melzer of Austria 7-6 (2), 6-4. Davenport and Huber eliminated Victoria Azarenka and Tatiana Poutchek of Belarus 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

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