London – Roger Federer crushed Mikhail Youzhny 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 to reach a record 32nd Grand Slam semifinal Wednesday and a clash with world number one Novak Djokovic for a place in the Wimbledon final.
The six-time champion, who had gone level with Jimmy Connors for Grand Slam semi-final excellence when he made the last four at the French Open last month, cruised to a 14th win in 14 meetings against the 26th seeded Russian.
Just as importantly for Federer, there were no no signs of the back pain which had dogged him in the fourth round against Xavier Malisse.
Federer, chasing Pete Sampras's record of seven Wimbledon titles, also put an end to a worrying sequence at the All England Club where he had been knocked out in the quarter-finals in the last two years.
“I played great. It was a big occasion for Mikhail, maybe my game suits up well against his. He was down in every set and that makes it difficult to play freely,” said Federer, who reached an eighth Wimbledon semi-final in front of Prince William and wife Catherine, watching from the Royal Box.
“It helps when royalty and other stars come to watch, it's inspiring and a thrill and helps tennis.”
The Swiss great broke in the second and sixth games of the first set to claim the opener in 28 minutes while also breaking twice more in the second set, sealing it with an ace.
Youzhny, playing in his first Wimbledon quarter-final, had been defeated by Federer in the fourth round in 2011 where he had taken the first set before losing in four.
He was so dispirited that on his way to dropping serve again in the first game of the third set, he turned to the Centre Court Royal Box for help.
The 30-year-old appealed to tennis legends Rod Laver and Andre Agassi, who were watching from their privileged positions.
“Can you tell me what I'm supposed to do out here?,” begged the Russian.
A second double fault gave Federer another break for 4-1 before Youzhny fought off three match points in the seventh game.
But world number three Federer wrapped up the tie in just 90
minutes with a backhand volley. – Sapa-AFP