Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Roger Federer rolls into the semis @ Aussie Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Defending champion Roger Federer advanced to the Australian Open semifinals with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 win over Stanislas Wawrinka on Tuesday in a mismatch that had the intensity of a practice session. 

Federer, aiming to become the first man to win five Australian titles, was playing in his record-tying 27th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal. He is into his eighth consecutive semifinal at Melbourne Park.
No. 19 Wawrinka was playing at this stage for only the second time at a major and struggled against Federer in the first all-Swiss quarterfinal at a Grand Slam. He had only beaten Federer once in their seven previous matches. 

Wawrinka had only one look at a break chance against the 16-time Grand Slam winner, in the sixth game of the third set, and lost three straight points to let Federer off the hook.
Federer cashed in on five of his seven break opportunities. 

Wawrinka received a code violation for smashing his racket into the ground, shattering the frame, after falling behind 2-0 in the third. His intensity picked up, but it was too late. 

"I obviously played Stan many times in practice and in matches ... maybe a bit of a battle for him to get used to the conditions," Federer said. "I had to fight extremely hard and I thought Stan played an amazing tournament." 

Wawrinka was on a nine-match winning streak, including a straight-sets win over former No. 1-ranked Andy Roddick in the fourth round. 

Federer next plays the winner of Tuesday's later match between No. 3 Novak Djokovic and Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych. Federer's last two Grand Slam losses have come against them - against Berdych at Wimbledon and Djokovic at the U.S. Open. Djokovic also beat Federer in the semifinals here in 2008 before going on to win the title. 

For Federer, the match will be more about making the final than seeking revenge.
"I got them back a couple of times at the end of the year," he said. "I don't feel like I need to get back at them necessarily, but I'm not just going to come out here and give them the match." 

Well this turned out to be very anti-climatic didn't it?.  No sweating and hair pulling required 

Don't get me wrong I'm thrilled that Federer's form seems to be back on track with this convincing win.  

But after what Stan did to Roddick I expected a little bit more competitiveness.  

There were some wonderful shots courtesy of a very relaxed Federer.  He'll certainly have plenty of energy to spare for the 2 remaining matches that's for sure.  

And against either Djokovic or Berdych he'll need every drop. 

It only gets tougher from here on out.  But I know that Roger being the champ that he is will be up to the challenge.  Looking forward to it!. 

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