Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lawn Tennis: Federer Back in the Old Routine; Wimbledon 2008 Champion in Imperious Form

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lawn Tennis: Federer Back in the Old Routine; Wimbledon 2008 Champion in Imperious Form

Article excerpt

Byline: FRANK MALLEY

ROGER Federer took a step nearer history when he moved imperiously into the third round of Wimbledon yesterday, writes FRANK MALLEY.

The defending champion, who is bidding to become the first man since William Renshaw in the 19th Century to win the men's singles six times in a row, defeated Sweden's Robin Soderling 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7/3) in a Centre Court match which was rarely more than routine.

It did not help Soderling's cause that he was playing with a large blister on his left foot, for which he received treatment during the second set. But he produced far too many mistakes to trouble the top seed.

With Novak Djokovic removed from Federer's side of the draw, having fallen to Marat Safin, the world number one appears to have an increasingly comfortable ride through to the final.

Federer's verdict: "I'm happy with the way I played. I'm moving well. The performance was excellent today."

Soderling had given Rafael Nadal a few problems last year in an epic rain-affected match but he had not beaten Federer in six previous meetings.

In fact, he had only once taken a set off the Swiss. He never looked like doing so during a second round match in which Federer's serving was consistently destructive.

The champion broke the Soderling serve in the second game in the first set and the first game in the second set and the momentum wrested was crucial.

Federer had predicted a "difficult" match, probably because Soderling had won 26 out of his 37 previous singles matches this year and had finished runner-up in Rotterdam and Memphis.

But the Swede simply made too many unforced errors, the most spectacular one a drive volley which just missed Federer's head but unfortunately for Soderling also the baseline.

Third seed Djokovic crashed out of Wimbledon after being beaten by a man known for his "mental instability".

In fairness, Safin is also a man known for winning two grand slam titles and a former world number one, but Djokovic was also expressing what everyone was thinking after slumping to a shock straight-sets defeat on centre court. …

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