Federer buries Berdych Games hoodoo with win over Czech
Reviving Roger Federer buried an Olympic demon from four years ago on Wednesday with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) defeat of Czech Tomas Berdych to reach the quarter-finals at the Beijing Games, dpa reported.
In Athens, the young Czech ended Federer's medal dream as he beat the number one in the second round.
This time, there was no chance of an upset with Federer storming through for the third consecutive day in straight sets.
"I'm very happy with the way I played," said Federer, who has now beaten the number 20 a total of seven times since his loss in 2004. "But he's always dangerous just by how hard he hits the ball."
Federer, losing finalist to Rafael Nadal at both Paris and Wimbledon, is counting on the Games to help him lift back to championship level after claiming just two minor titles so far this season.
The Swiss bobbled the early stage as he dropped down a break 0-3, but recovered poise to earn the victory.
"I know how tough it is to win a medal here," said the experienced winner of a dozen Grand Slam titles. "You have to win six matches in seven days, that's the way it is."
Federer will next go against James Blake, who beat France's Gilles Simon 6-4, 6-2, who later combined with Stan Wawrinka to defeat Russians Dmitry Tursunov and Mikhail Youzhny in doubles 6-4, 6-3.
Nadal, taking over the top ATP ranking from Federer on Monday, and world number three Novak Djokovic followed suit with convincing wins.
Nadal made a statement 6-4, 6-2 over Igor Andreev while Serb Djokovic defeated Mikhail Youzhny 7-6 (7-3), 6-3. He next races France's Gael Monfils, who ended the hopes of Argentine David Nalbandian 6-4, 6-4.
The pair of wins from the seeds eliminated the last Russian man from the field as Marat Safin quit a match halfway around the world in Washington with a neck problem.
"I'm nearing my best level," said Nadal after losing his only set of the week on Monday against Italian Potito Starace. "I have a good feeling on court, I'm going out there and just trying to play my best all the time."
In women's play, Li Na set a record for the hosts as the first Chinese player into the last eight at the Olympic singles level.
She staged a home comeback over Estonia's Kaia Kanepi to advance 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 as the momentum quickly picked up.
"I didn't know her game at all," said the winner."I had no rhythm, but I took my chance and had the support of the crowd."
Five-time Wimbledon winner Venus Williams defeated Viktoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-2, while hot-handed Dinara Safin stopped Jie Zheng 6- 4, 6-3, the 13th win in a row for the Russian.
Serena Williams exploded with a racket smash in the first set before recovering from a horror start to stop French teenager Alize Cornet 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.