Federer out of Olympics

Berdych derails Federer express
By Reuters

17/08/2004 at 22:32Updated

Roger Federer was bundled out of the Olympic tennis tournament on Tuesday by unheralded Czech Tomas Berdych. Barely known outside his home town of Prostejov, Berdych refused to bow to the Wimbledon and Australian Open champion on an outside court, fightin

The 79th-ranked Berdych scrapped tigerishly on a cool Greek night to dash the top seed's dreams. The Swiss had stated all year that Olympic gold was his goal for 2004.

"Obviously I am disappointed because the Olympics means so much to me," said Federer, who had carried the Swiss flag at the opening ceremony.

"This meant a lot to me but it wasn't to be."

World number two Andy Roddick narrowly avoided a similar fate, saving three match points before finally overcoming Tommy Haas, silver-medallist in Sydney four years ago, 4-6 6-3 9-7.

"I'm happy to still be alive," Roddick said. "This Olympic tennis, it's a totally different thing to anything I have ever experienced.

"I was pretty nervous. It's a lot easier to handle defeat when you don't have the weight of a nation on you."

There was no chance the women's world number one would slip up once she took to the court against Venezuela's Maria Vento-Kabchi.

Any hint of rust after a 12-week lay-off was long gone by the time Justine Henin-Hardenne took to centre court, a fact drummed mercilessly home to her opponent.

The Belgian top seed lived up to her pre-Games billing by overwhelming her opponent 6-2 6-1 to reach the third round.

"I'm feeling good, much better now," the 22-year-old Belgian told reporters who asked about any lasting effects of the mystery viral illness which had laid her low. "I felt really good on court."


That much was obvious as she rattled past the Venezuelan in 64 minutes on centre court.

Defending champion Venus Williams blasted past Slovene Maja Matevzic without the loss of a single game.

"It was just a good day for me, that's for sure," she smiled. "For me it wasn't about 6-0 6-0, it was about keeping my level up, not letting it drop."

Second seed Amelie Mauresmo was almost as impressive, beating Italy's Maria Elena Camerin 6-0 6-1.

Juan Carlos Ferrero , plagued by niggling injuries all year, was unable to close out America's Mardy Fish. He let slip a lead of a set and a break to lose 4-6 7-6 6-4.

"I don't know what happens with these double faults," he said after failing to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set.

Anastasia Myskina, the Russian who took Henin-Hardenne's French Open crown in June, is in the Belgian's half of the draw and she also advanced.

She did not have things all her own way against Puerto Rican Kristina Brandi, though, fighting through 6-2 3-6 6-4.

"I felt okay," insisted the Russian who pulled out of the Sopot Open in Poland with a rib injury last week.

Her compatriot Marat Safin slumped out to Spain's Feliciano Lopez 7-6 6-3.