at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London - Roger Federer was at his imperious best in a graceful 6-1 6-2 6-2 destruction of Mikhail Youzhny to reach the Wimbledon semifinals on Wednesday.
The third seed and six-times champion outclassed the 26th-seeded Russian on Centre Court, picking him off at will to set up a last-four showdown with defending champion Novak Djokovic.
“I have a good matchup with Youzhny for some reason because he is a good player and makes it hard normally for players. I had a tough one with him here last year,” Federer told a news conference.
“I'm obviously excited about this result here today.” Federer added after a 14th successive win over the hapless Youzhny.
The match was watched from the Royal Box by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and former Wimbledon champions Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf.
“I think it's inspiring when royalty and other legends of the game come to watch,” Federer said. “It's great for tennis.”
Federer, knocked out in the quarter-finals at the All England Club the last two years, roared into a 4-1 lead and after a short rain delay wrapped up the first set in 28 minutes.
The Swiss maestro broke in the first game of the second set with the aid of a lucky net-cord and, showing no sign of the back injury which hampered him in his fourth-round win over Xavier Malisse, he sauntered into a 2-0 lead.
“I'm happy that things were fine out there today,” Federer said. Today I didn't have to call the trainer. It was straightforward. I could focus on tennis again, on tactics I wanted to play, instead of focusing on how to manage little issues or big issues.
“I'm happy where I am right now. My back is holding up.”
With the sun making a rare appearance at the tournament, Federer broke Youzhny again at the start of the third set.
The Russian let out a huge roar of frustration when he failed to take advantage of a break-point but he made far too many unforced errors to get back into the match.
Federer wasted three match points on Youzhny's serve but he quickly earned himself two more and took the first with a deft angled volley to wrap up victory in an one hour 30 minutes.
“Obviously it's a big deal. No denying,” said the 16-times grand slam champion.
“It feels great being back in the semis. Haven't been here in the last couple years. So this is nice to be back to a place where I've been so many times before.
“Usually once I get to the semis, I'm playing some of my best tennis.”
Federer has now reached the semifinals of a grand slam tournament a record 32 times, one more than American Jimmy Connors. - Reuters