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Federer routs Roddick; Williams, Sharapova to meet in Australian Open final

Federer routs Roddick; Williams, Sharapova to meet in Australian Open final

Even Roger Federer was stunned by his domination of Andy Roddick.
After looking vulnerable in some of his earlier matches, top-ranked Federer was virtually untouchable as he beat sixth-seeded Roddick 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 Thursday at the Australian Open to reach his seventh consecutive Grand Slam final, tying a record set by Jack Crawford in 1934.
"This was definitely one of my best matches I ever played," said Federer, who is seeking his 10th major title. "I had one of these days when everything just worked, I was unbeatable. It's just unreal. I was playing out of my mind. I am shocked myself.
"The tournament is not even over yet, so let's not get carried away. Let me do it one more time."
Serena Williams earlier proved her doubters wrong.
Unseeded after an injury-plagued 2006 that limited her to four tournaments, the former world No. 1 reached her first Grand Slam final in two years, beating Nicole Vaidisova 7-6 (5), 6-4 to reach the women's final.
Standing in the way of an eighth Grand Slam title _ she already has two here _ is top-seeded Maria Sharapova. Sharapova turned her semifinal against No. 4 Kim Clijsters into an Australian farewell match for the 23-year-old Belgian, who is retiring at the end of the year, with a 6-4, 6-2 victory.
Federer will play the winner of Friday's semifinal between 10th-seeded Fernando Gonzalez and No. 12 Tommy Haas. Both had to be at least a little daunted if they were watching him rout Roddick.
Roddick had hoped that his net-charging tactics, implemented by new coach Jimmy Connors after Wimbledon last year, would help him close the gap with Federer. He beat the Swiss star at an exhibition tournament less than two weeks ago.
Federer made sure it didn't happen again when it counted.
"He was playing so well," Federer said. "I thought I would see 50 aces going past me. That's why I didn't read the papers today, didn't switch on the TV, and I just tried to focus on my game."
Federer ran off 11 games in a row from serving at 3-4 in the first set. He blunted Roddick's powerful serve and whipped passing shots seemingly at will, leaving Roddick flat-footed and staring in disbelief.
Roddick won only nine of his 31 net approaches and had only 11 winners. Federer had 10 aces, 45 winners and just 12 unforced errors.
It got so bad that Roddick got a huge ovation after whacking one of his few winners, then another when he held serve to end Federer's 11-game streak.
"I caught an absolute beating tonight," said Roddick, who lost a set 6-0 for the first time in 25 Grand Slam events. "It was miserable. I'm going to try to take this like a man as much as I can."
Federer yielded only six points in the second set. Roddick, who tried to bash a ball into the air after falling behind 5-0, lost his grip and tossed the racket, which hit an Associated Press photographer on the knee. Roddick apologized and received a conduct warning from the chair umpire.
Williams, ranked No. 81 coming into the tournament after dropping out of the top 100 last year while dealing with a bad knee, guaranteed herself a return to the top 20.
"I can't believe it," she said. "That's awesome. If I play well, which I don't think I've even reached yet at all in this tournament ... it's really hard for anyone on the women's tour to beat me."
Williams and Sharapova are 2-2 in head-to-heads. Williams won their last encounter after saving match points in the semifinals here two years ago, then went on to win the title.
"I think she has nothing to lose," Sharapova said. "Those are always dangerous opponents."
Williams doubled-faulted on consecutive points as Vaidisova leveled the tiebreaker at 5-5. Grunting louder with each shot, Williams whacked a winner for set point, then growled loudly when Vaidisova netted a forehand.
Williams jumped ahead 5-1 in the second set. Vaidisova broke her as she served for the match to pull within 3-5, then fended off four match points in the next game.
"I almost did a gagarooney there," said Williams, explaining: "Basically, you know, gagging."
Serving again to finish it off, Williams lost match point No. 5 when Vaidisova hit a ball on the line. Williams started to celebrate, thinking the ball was out, then clearly wanted to question the no-call but had used up her challenges already.
She fired an ace on a second serve to set up match point No. 6. and cashed this one.
"She's definitely a great champ," Vaidisova said. "She played the tight points very well. I had my opportunities. I didn't use them."
Sharapova, last year's U.S. Open champion, wasn't at the top of her game either, committing eight double faults and missing a number of easy putaways. But she was at her best under pressure, fending off seven break points in the second set.
"Couldn't quite get the serve and return together in the beginning," Sharapova said. "But overall I was really focused. I did the right things at the right time. I was patient when I had to be patient, played a smart game."
Clijsters got two standing ovations as she said farewell to Rod Laver Arena.
"I have so many great memories from here," she said. "I'm going to come back tomorrow and take my time to say goodbye to everybody."


Updated : 2020-12-05 04:04 GMT+08:00