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Friday, July 3, 2009

Federer flies into seventh straight final

Photo Titled Federer focused
Federer focused
Roger Federer's inexorable stride swallowed up another Wimbledon milestone as he hammered his way into a record seventh consecutive men's singles final by sweeping aside Tommy Haas of Germany 7-6 7-5 6-3 in two hours and two minutes.

Federer, the five-time champion, can never have served better than he did today. He never permitted Haas even a peek at a break point, landed 75% of his first serves on target and won 89% of his first serve points. Even his second serve was lethal, gathering him an astonishing 81%. Gallantly though he fought, there was nothing Haas could do to halt the inevitable flow of this match in Federer's direction.

After being turfed out of the quarter-finals by Haas, Novak Djokovic forecast that the 31-year-old was capable of surprising Federer. It did not happen, well though Haas himself served throughout. But he was embarking on mission impossible against a genius who permitted him a mere 10 points in three sets of perfection.

Having arrived at Wimbledon with the Halle grass title under his belt, Haas was clearly in form and he extended Federer without ever worrying him. The opening set reached a tiebreak without even the sniff of a break point for either player, but the German faltered at this stage, gifting Federer two mini-breaks and finding himself a set down after 46 minutes.

It seemed for 11 games that the second set would also needed to be resolved by a tiebreak. Federer had conjured a set point at 5-4 when Haas netted a low backhand volley, but Tommy scrambled clear of danger, only to be pitched back into trouble when he served again at 5-6. One of the Swiss's elegant cross-court forehands took him to his third set point and this time the answer was faulty, with Haas driving a forehand over the baseline.

The immensity of the Haas task was evident as Federer upped the power in the third set, looking absolutely invincible on serve. If a break was to come, there was only one place for it to happen - at the Haas end - though the nature of the break was far from satisfactory.

Trailing 4-3, Haas was foot-faulted on his first serve at 15-all. Clearly disturbed by this, the first such call of the match, his concentration wavered. Four break points were saved but a fifth chance for Federer proved too much as Haas followed a double fault by netting a backhand approach. It was a tame way to drop serve after all that had gone before.

So Federer stepped up to serve out for the match. He did it to love, the 10th time this had happened on a day that was just about perfect for him.

Centre Court - Gentlemen's Singles - Semifinals
Tommy Haas GER (24)6353
Roger Federer SUI (2)Winner7776

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