Olympic roundup: Federer, Serena, Venus out
The Olympic roundup …
So much for a men’s final between Federer and Rafael Nadal. Or the Williams sisters meeting in the women’s final.
Blake, had won only a single set in his previous eight matches with Federer, knocked him out 6-4, 7-6 (2). Blake is the only American left in men’s singles.
“If you play him enough times, he’s bound to have an off day,” Blake said.
Federer leaves with his third straight Olympic disappointment. He also goes away knowing his 41/2-year reign as the world No. 1 will end next week, replaced by Spain’s Rafael Nadal.
Serena Williams overcame two match points, but ultimately lost to Dementieva 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Li beat Venus Williams 7-5, 7-5.
Top-seeded Mike and Bob Bryan advanced to the semifinals in doubles by beating Lleyton Hewitt and Chris Guccione of Australia 6-4, 6-3.
Another American, Ian Crocker, figured to be Phelps’ top foe in the fly. But he’ll have to do a lot better than the 51.95 seconds he posted in the 100-meter butterfly preliminaries on Thursday. The world record-holder’s time was just the 13th best of the night.
The biggest surprise of nighttime qualifying was Katie Hoff and Kate Ziegler fizzling in 800-meter freestyle heats. That means the U.S. won’t medal in that event; Americans have medaled in it every Olympics except the 1980 boycott year and 1976, with five straight golds from 1984-2000.
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.
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 in 2005. Before that, she went 237 games without a miscue during four perfect years in the field as an All-American at Arizona.
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, which begins at noon.
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 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.
Remember Rulon Gardner’s glorious victory in Sydney? Good, because there won’t be one like it this time.
Adam Wheeler unexpectedly won bronze at 96 kilograms, but that was it as Dremiel Byers and Brad Vering, Americans’ top Greco-Roman wrestlers, were bounced.
In skeet shooting, American Kim Rhode was part of a three-way tie decided by a shoot-off ó in the rain. Rhode wound up with a silver to go with the double trap gold she won in 1996 and 2004; the women’s version was eliminated before Beijing.
WOMEN’S FIELD HOCKEY
No tie for the U.S. this time. They lost instead.
The Americans let a 2-1 lead turn into a 4-2 loss to Germany, dropping to 0-1-2. They’ll be hard-pressed to make the medal round with games left against New Zealand and Britain.
MEN’S WATER POLO
The Americans had plenty of chances to upset Serbia, but they were 2-of-27 shooting and couldn’t score on three of their five power-play opportunities against a backup goalkeeper. Team captain Tony Azevedo was 0-for-8, including a missed penalty shot.
Both American women’s teams ó Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, and the duo of Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs ó wrapped up a 3-0 record in pool play, sending them into the 16-team medal round beginning today.
Fire up the barbecue! Mongolia has won its first-ever gold medal in any sport. Kudos to Tuvshinbayar Naidan for taking the men’s 100-kilogram division.
China’s Yang Xiuli flipped her first four opponents then won in an overtime decision over Cuba’s Yalennis Castillo to take the gold medal in the women’s 78 kg.
Second-seeded Lee Chong Wei kept Malaysia’s best hope for an Olympic gold medal alive with a straight-sets win over Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia in men’s singles quarterfinals.
Lee is bidding to win Malaysia’s first gold medal in the Olympics. His girlfriend, Wong Mew Choo, lost in the quarterfinals of the women’s singles Wednesday, but was in the stands for Lee’s match.
Some things don’t change: Germany won the grand prix dressage, just like it’s done every Olympics since 1984. The Netherlands took silver and Denmark the bronze.
The U.S. women advanced to the bronze medal round.