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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 July 2006, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Masterful Federer destroys Ancic
By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Roger Federer
Federer was held up only by two rain delays
Defending champion Roger Federer was in breathtaking form as he crushed Mario Ancic 6-4 6-4 6-4 to reach the semis.

Federer banished any thoughts of an upset by breaking serve at 2-2 in the first set, straight after a rain delay.

The top seed had time to clinch the set and produce another awe-inspiring game to break straight away in the second before the rain returned.

Ancic continued to play his part in a mesmeric match, but Federer always had too much for the ninth seed.

The three-times defending champion will face 34-year-old Swede Jonas Bjorkman in the last four.

Federer said even he had been surprised by the quality of some of his passing shots against the unfortunate Ancic.

"When you're surprised, I'm surprised. I've been serving excellent, returning good and my passing shots especially have been excellent," he said.

"Sometimes you get the feeling you're absolutely in control. It's a sense of confidence, like playing in front of a home crowd.

There's not much you can say. He played unbelievable tennis. He was faultless

Mario Ancic

"You're not afraid to try anything, to hit the ball hard or to go for aces. That's what I felt today."

Ancic admitted: "I thought sometimes I played some unbelievable shots.

"If I had written down the way I wanted to play, I would have done exactly that but and I was getting passed and he was hitting winners from nowhere.

"I tried the whole match, even at the end. I knew I was playing good tennis and I continued to search for solutions.

"There's not much you can say. He played unbelievable tennis. He was faultless."

A high quality start to the match was interrupted by the day's first shower after just 13 minutes, with the score at 2-2.

But while Ancic had matched Federer in that opening spell, he was in for a shock when they returned after almost an hour and a half.

The world number one found another gear, a sumptuous forehand pass sealing the break in the first game after the delay.

Federer duly wrapped up the set and then hammered home the advantage early in the second.

Ancic produced some breathtaking grass-court tennis to save two break points in the opening game, and looked certain to see off the third when he approached the net behind a perfect sliced backhand.

But Federer simply glided along the baseline and ripped a forehand cross-court, drawing an audible gasp from the audience and a roar of delight from the defending champion.

Rain forced the players off again, with Federer leading 4-2, but the world number one came back in the same dazzling form.

The three-times Wimbledon champion went on to establish a two-set lead and then all but ended Ancic's challenge by breaking again in the first game of the third.

The Croat earned the respect of the Centre Court crowd by breaking Federer's serve in the third set - only the second time in the tournament the top seed had suffered that indignity.

By then, Ancic was already a double break down but he had a chance to get back on level terms when he earned another break point at 3-4.

But Federer once again saved his best for when it really mattered, sending another blistering forehand past a despairing Ancic and ending the ninth seed's challenge.



SEE ALSO
John McEnroe on Wimbledon
05 Jul 06 |  Tennis
Gamewatch: Federer v Ancic
05 Jul 06 |  Tennis
Wimbledon ponders court fencing
05 Jul 06 |  Tennis


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