Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sublime Fed Has Sampras Record in His Sights after Roddick Rout; Silver Service: Roger Federer Was in Total Control of His Semi-Final with Andy Roddick

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sublime Fed Has Sampras Record in His Sights after Roddick Rout; Silver Service: Roger Federer Was in Total Control of His Semi-Final with Andy Roddick

Article excerpt

Byline: MARCO GIACOMELLI

ROGER FEDERER is just one win away from equalling Pete Sampras's record of 14 Grand Slam titles after storming into the final of the Australian Open today with a brilliant 6-2, 7-5, 7-5 victory over Andy Roddick.

The world No2 gave the seventh seed a tennis masterclass to set up a clash against the winner of tomorrow's all- Spanish semi-final between Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco.

Roddick has only ever beaten Federer in two of their previous 17 meetings the most recent success coming in Miami last year and tried everything from drop shots to bullet-like serves to find a way through the Swiss star's armoury. But Federer couldn't be rattled, firing twice as many aces 16 as his opponent while some of his passing shots were sublime.

The modest winner said: "I played really solid and I thought the level was high throughout the match.

"I had a couple good games where I served really well in the first set and that gave me a lot of confidence going into the second one. I was moving well and getting a lot of balls back and making it difficult for Andy to get the upper hand from the baseline." On Sunday, Federer will try to emulate Sampras's haul of Grand Slam titles but he has now matched the American's feat of reaching 18 major finals one short of the record held by Ivan Lendl.

"I'm very happy and proud about that," said Federer. "It shows how long I've been able to keep it up and stay in good shape and healthy.

"That's really the key for success at the highest of levels." Although Federer was always in control, Roddick harmed his own cause by losing his cool in the first set after umpire Enric Molina awarded Federer a point in the sixth game when the Swiss used the Hawkeye system to challenge a line call.

The ball, which had been called out, was shown to be in on the television replay and Molina awarded Federer the point, prompting an angry reaction from Roddick, who felt it should have been replayed. Federer eventually won the game to take a 5-1 lead and while Roddick held the next game he was clearly frustrated.

The 26-year-old was eventually beaten in two hours and 17 minutes and admitted: "I hit the ball pretty well but he just came up with shots when he needed to. …

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