Roger beats Rafa - but the wrong one

The top seed was too powerful for Rafael Arevalo, the 447th-ranked Salvadoran, who put up a spirited fight.

updated: August 16, 2008 10:23 IST
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Roger Federer finally got a win over Rafa this year. Shame it wasn't Rafael Nadal.

Instead it was El Salvador's Rafael Arevalo who took the punishment 6-2, 6-4 in front of an encouraging crowd.

In a mismatch only possible at the Olympics, the 447th-ranked Arevalo, playing as an invitee, earned credit for a dogged display.

The 22-year-old drew cheers when he audaciously lobbed the Swiss top seed, sending him scrambling to the back of the court, and put away the winning volley with aplomb.

Arevalo also belied his ranking with confident passing shots on either wing, racking up more games against Federer than Lleyton Hewitt managed against Nadal earlier.

Federer had to be at his best when he faced a break point at 4-3 in the second. And the Salvadoran signed more autographs afterwards too.

Arevalo's opening-round win against Lee Hyung-Taik was his first match against a top-100 player.

"I've played in a stadium before. But not full of people," he said.

"It's different. When you play outside in a normal court, when you do the toss for the serve, you can see the sky. Here you see just people."

The appearance will significantly boost his profile and may give him the chance to add to his USD 27,753 in career earnings.

However, he still has a way to go to match the 41.7 million dollars amassed by 12-time Grand Slam champion Federer.

"He's still the best player in the world now. And I played great tennis today," Arevalo said.