UPDATE 1-Tennis-Federer breezes into Wimbledon semi-finals
(Adds quotes, byline)
By Sonia Oxley
LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) - Roger Federer overcame a blustery wind and a lack of match practice to beat Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-6 3-6 6-1 6-3 on Friday and reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon where he is aiming for a fifth successive title.
The Swiss played his last match, a third round tie against Marat Safin, a week ago because his fourth round opponent Tommy Haas pulled out of the tournament injured and the schedule has also been disrupted by rain.
"I knew the danger of my first match after the long break -- it could have been an advantage and a disadvantage," the world number one told a news conference.
"Now that I'm through, I think it's definitely a bit of an advantage."
Both players said gusty conditions on the roofless Centre Court had made it difficult to play and Ferrero said it was hard enough trying to beat the Swiss under perfect conditions, let alone in the wind.
"I knew before playing him that it is always difficult to beat him in any conditions. But today were the worst conditions to feel the ball. It was very difficult to play out there," he said.
Federer stormed to a 5-2 lead in the first set but the Spaniard clawed back to 5-5 before play was abandoned on Thursday because of rain.
He squandered a set point in the 12th game but made no such mistake in the tiebreak which he took 7-2 with an ace on the final point.
Some uncharacteristic forehand errors from the Swiss gave Ferrero a break in the eighth game of the next set and the former world number one took the set on his second set point when Federer's return went long.
It seemed to be the shock that the top seed needed and he launched a barrage of winners to take the third set in just 19 minutes.
"I decided in the third set to just play a bit more offensive, go for my shots a little bit, hit a couple of up-the-line backhands," Federer said.
A shell-shocked Ferrero struggled to come to terms with the change in Federer, whose more laid-back look in the first couple of sets had changed to one of sheer determination.
Federer secured a break in the third game of the fourth set and in the end thumped a crosscourt forehand winner to extend his record of successive grand slam semi-final appearances to 13 and set up a meeting with either Andy Roddick or Richard Gasquet.
Ferrero was the first player to take a set off the champion in this tournament, but he said that counted for little.
"I was trying to win the match, not to win a set," he said.
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this