Federer cruises into final

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/A/Apfederer.jpg' class='caption'> Roger Federer put on another masterful grass-court show on Friday with a rout of Jonas Bjorkman, sweeping his way into the Wimbledon final.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:35 IST
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Roger Federer put on another masterful grass-court show on Friday with a rout of Jonas Bjorkman, sweeping into the Wimbledon final and moving one win from his fourth straight title. Federer, hitting breathtaking winners from all parts of the court, overwhelmed his Swedish opponent 6-2, 6-0, 6-2 in 77 minutes to become the first man in the Open era to reach five consecutive Grand Slam finals. With the loss of only four games by Federer, it was the most one-sided men's semifinal at Wimbledon since the tournament adopted its current format in 1922. "I was flawless," Federer said. "I had high expectations to win this match today. And then to come through and play at the level I did today, that's great." Looming on Sunday is another potential No. 1 vs. No. 2 final showdown against Rafael Nadal, who faced Australian Open runner-up Marcos Baghdatis in the other semifinal. The 20-year-old Spaniard beat Federer for the French Open title last month and has defeated him five straight times, including four finals this year. Federer won 11 consecutive games at one stretch against the 59th-ranked Bjorkman to extend his Open era record grass-court winning streak to 47. He hasn't dropped a set all tournament, and could become the first player to win the title without losing a set since Bjorn Borg in 1976. On Friday, Federer was in what tennis players call "the zone", a state of mind and body where they are playing as if they can do nothing wrong. "It's just a beautiful feeling," he said. "You don't get it very often. When you can dominate an opponent, it's always sort of nice. But then especially in a semifinals of a Grand Slam, it's even better." Federer is the first player since Fred Stolle in 1965 to get to the final of five straight majors. He's reached 16 straight consecutive tournament finals in all. The 24-year-old Swiss is on course to become the third man in the Open era to win four straight Wimbledons, joining Bjorn Borg (five straight from 1976-80) and Pete Sampras (1997-00). The 34-year-old Bjorkman, the oldest Wimbledon men's semifinalist since Jimmy Connors in 1987, is one of the world's top doubles players but was no match for Federer. Federer had 30 winners, including nine aces, and only 13 unforced errors. He broke Bjorkman seven times and never faced a break point. Federer won nearly twice as many points - 80 to 43. The start of the match was delayed for two hours by light rain, but Federer seemed in a hurry to make up for lost time - his victory was quicker than Justine Henin-Hardenne's 90-minute, straight-set semifinal win on Thursday over Kim Clijsters. Everything clicked for Federer: booming first serves, low returns, explosive forehands and reflex one-handed backhands. He won 84 per cent of the points on his first serve, holding at love three times in the first set. When Bjorkman, an accomplished volleyer, tried to come in, Federer was often there to rip the ball past him or at his feet. From 3-2 in the first set, Federer reeled off 11 games to lead 2-0 in the third set. At 3-0 in the second set, Federer went down love-30 on his serve. No problem: He got out of the hole by serving three straight aces. (AP)

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