Federer storms into Australian Open final
MELBOURNE: Switzerland's Roger Federer blasted Andy Roddick off-court in another fearsome display to reach the Australian Open final and stay on course for a record-tying 14th Grand Slam title on Thursday.
The second seed absorbed Roddick's serve and dominated the rallies to take it 6-2, 7-5, 7-5, with arch-rival Rafael Nadal playing Fernando Verdasco in the all-Spanish second semi-final on Friday.
Federer, now in his 18th Grand Slam final, has not lost any of his three previous Australian Open title matches and continues his unbeaten record against Roddick in Major tournaments.
Nadal is hot favourite for his semi with Verdasco, raising the prospect of a mouth-watering seventh Grand Slam final between the world's top two players.
It was demoralising for Roddick, who came into the match revitalised by a change in coach but got off to an appalling start and argued with the chair umpire as the first set slipped past in 32 minutes.
Federer had the seventh seed on a string and he reeled off 12 straight points to take the second, breaking for 6-5 and serving out with grim precision for the two-set lead.
Roddick tangled again with the umpire when he swore loudly and received a code violation, and was left staggered when Federer dug himself out of trouble with a brilliant drop shot, lob and stop-volley to hold for 5-5.
The American was then guilty of a howler as he patted the ball to Federer's feet with the court begging, gifting the crucial break point which the Swiss converted with an unstoppable forehand before calmly serving out the win.
An ailing Federer lost in the semis here last year and was beaten in the Roland Garros and Wimbledon finals by Nadal, who ended his record 237-week stint as world number one.
But he rescued his season by winning his fifth US Open title to move to 13 Grand Slam victories, one fewer than American great Pete Sampras.
Federer beat Andreas Seppi, Evgeny Korolev and 2005 champion Marat Safin in the early rounds before fighting back from two sets down against Tomas Berdych.
He then thrashed Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter-finals, winning 6-3, 6-0, 6-0 in his most comprehensive victory in the last eight of a Grand Slam.
Federer also reached the semi-finals at the previous five Australian Opens, winning in 2004, 2006 and 2007, and last failed to make the last eight in 2003.
He can join Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Jack Crawford and Ken Rosewall as the only men to have won four or more titles here.
Federer moves to 16-2 against Roddick, the former number one who won the 2003 US Open but has not reached a Grand Slam final since 2006.
Re: Federer storms into Australian Open final