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Federer pounds Roddick to storm into final

Swiss legend equals record for successive Grand Slam finals

Roger Federer celebrates winning his semi-final match against Andy Roddick at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia yesterday....
Belgium's Kim Clijsters reaches for a shot during her semi-final match against Russia's Maria Sharapova in Melbourne, Australia yesterday.
Serena Williams battles against Nicole Vaidisova in Melbourne, Australia yesterday.

Roger Federer celebrates winning his semi-final match against Andy Roddick at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia yesterday....

Belgium's Kim Clijsters reaches for a shot during her semi-final match against Russia's Maria Sharapova in Melbourne, Australia yesterday.

Serena Williams battles against Nicole Vaidisova in Melbourne, Australia yesterday.

World number one Roger Federer stormed into a record-equaling seventh successive Grand Slam final with a straight sets humiliation of American rival Andy Roddick at the Australian Open yesterday.
Federer was in a different class as he raced into his third Australian final in four years with a 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 romp in just 1hour 23 minute.
It was Roddick's heaviest defeat in five Grand Slam matches with Federer, who now faces either Chilean 10th seed Fernando Gonzalez or German 12th seed Tommy Haas in Sunday's final.
Gonzalez and Haas play their semi-final today.
Federer equaled the all-time record for consecutive Grand Slam final appearances of seven, held since 1934 by Australian Jack Crawford.
"Winning matches is the best thing, but to break records that's something you never dream of, it's fantastic and I hope I can keep it up, I'm playing so well at the moment, I might as well take them along the way," Federer said.
"I had one of these special days where everything worked and I was unbeatable.
"It's just unreal. I'm shocked at it myself. The tournament's not even over yet, so let's not get carried away, let me try to do it one more time and then let's get all excited."
Run of 35
It stretched Federer's unbeaten run of matches to 35 and increased his record to Roddick to 13-1.
The American, who spoke of his gap closing with Federer before the match, was upstaged by the precision strokeplay of the incomparable Swiss.
Federer has reached the Australian final without dropping a set in his six matches, with American Michael Chang the last man to do this in 1996.
The phenomenal Federer has only lost two of 13 Grand Slam semi-finals he has played in - the 2005 Australian semi to Marat Safin and at Roland Garros in the same year.
Federer broke Roddick's serve in the first set but the American broke back in the fourth and looked good until the ninth game when his form suddenly deserted him.
The Swiss ace broke for the second time winning a furious rally at net and then served out for the opening set in 33 minutes.
It got decidedly worse for Roddick in the second set, losing every service game as Federer raced through to love in just 22 minutes.
Roddick's new strategy to come into the net more had him in two minds as Federer effortlessly passed him with beautiful backhand winners.
So exasperated was Roddick after his third service break in the set that he flung his racquet off the court towards a photographer and was given a code violation warning which normally carries a fine.
Broken again
The rot had truly set in and Roddick again dropped his opening service in the third set as Federer relentlessly powered on and won his 11th game in succession when he led 2-0.
The crowd, yearning for a contest, gave Roddick an ironic cheer when he finally held serve in the third game to put in check the rampant Federer.
But the Swiss again broke Roddick's serve in the fifth game to hand him a 4-1 and all but the match.
All Andy Roddick could do was shake his head in dismay at his night of embarrassment.
Serena vs. Maria
Unseeded and ranked No. 81, Serena Williams made it back to a Grand Slam final with a 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over Nicole Vaidisova at the Australian Open.
She will face top-seeded Maria Sharapova in the final, the 19-year-old Russian advancing 6-4, 6-2 late yesterday over No. 4 Kim Clijsters in the second semifinal.
Williams and Sharapova are 2-2 in head-to-heads - Williams winning their last encounter after saving match points in the semifinals here two years ago before going on to win the title.
Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam singles champ, weathered Vaidisova's powerful forehands and gave back plenty of her own, sometimes surprising the 17-year-old Czech player with her speed around the court and the pace of her ball.
After leading 5-1 in the second, she needed six match points before sealing it with an overhead.
"Yahoo!" she said.
"She played some incredible points on match point," Williams said. "She just got relaxed. It reminded me a bit of myself. I just tried to stay focused and tried to stay calm - it was just great."
Sloppy Sharapova
Sharapova overcame an early service break to dominate Clijsters, who was only able to convert two of her 12 breakpoint chances despite the Russian making eight double-faults and 33 unforced errors.
Sharapova was at her best under pressure, fending off seven break points in the second set. She rallied from 0-40 in the first game with a pair of aces and three forehand winners.
Sharapova, the US Open champion, will be making her first appearance in an Australian Open final after two losses in the semifinals.
She said she was looking forward to a rematch with Williams.
"I'm excited for that. She came into this tournament without any expectations, and she is playing great tennis," Sharapova said.
Clijsters, who will retire at the end of the season and plans to start a family, has lost four semifinals here and the 2004 final.
She gave Sharapova match point with a double-fault, and Sharapova clinched it with a forehand winner down the line.
'I'm sorry,' says Kim
"I'm sorry I couldn't come up with a better match today," said Clijsters, vowing to return - with her family, not as a player. "I tried everything I had, and I came up against a better player."
Williams has won two of her seven majors at Melbourne Park and is one win away from her most improbable title.
In between her win here in 2005 and her run to this year's final, Williams had not beaten a top 10 player and dropped out of the top 100 at one point last year.
By reaching the final, she is expected to surge back into the top 20.
Williams played only four tournaments in 2006, finishing the season 12-4 and without a title. She was the ninth-lowest ranked player to make a Grand Slam semifinal since computer rankings were introduced in 1975.
If Serena wins ...
If she wins, she would be only the second unseeded player to win the Australian in the open era.
Vaidisova broke Williams' serve in the first game and was dictating early rallies until Williams broke back to level at 3-3.
The pair traded breaks late in the set, with Vaidisova going ahead 5-4 and having a set point on serve before Williams rallied to break back and force a tiebreaker.
The 25-year-old American led 5-1 in the tiebreaker but allowed Vaidisova back to 5-5, serving consecutive double-faults.
She set up set point with a backhand winner and let out a powerful "gggrrrr" after Vaidisova dumped a forehand into the net.
Williams broke Vaidisova twice in the second set but the No. 10 seed rallied and won four straight games, saving four match points after being down 0-40 to hold the ninth game.
"I almost did a gagarooney there," said Williams, explaining: "Basically, you know gagging."
Serving again to finish it off, Williams had match point No. 5 at 40-30, when Vaidisova whipped a backhand crosscourt on the line for a winner.
Williams initially thought the ball was out and started to celebrate, then clearly wanted to challenge the decision but had no challenges left after using up her allotment earlier.
Her 10th ace of the match, on a second serve, set up Williams' sixth match point, and she finally cashed this one in, throwing her hands in the air and leaning back to look at the sky.
In other selected action at yesterday's Australian Open: Men's doubles Semi-finals; Jonas Bjorkman (Sweden)/Max Mirnyi (Bulgaria x2) beat Paul Hanley (Australia)/Kevin Ullyett (Zimbabwe x4) 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (10/8); Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA x1) beat Mark Knowles (Bahrain)/Daniel Nestor (Canada x3) 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.


Updated : 2021-04-23 21:51 GMT+08:00