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Page last updated at 17:44 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 18:44 UK

Federer marches into round three

By Chris Bevan
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Roger Federer
Federer's win was his 61st consecutive victory on grass

Roger Federer continued his impressive start to his defence of his Wimbledon crown with a comfortable 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3) win over Robin Soderling.

The world number one was quickly into his stride against the big Swede and some raking forehands helped him wrap up the first set in just 27 minutes.

Just as in the opener, Federer needed one break to take the second set too.

Federer dropped his serve for the first time on grass in 2008 in the third set, but he recovered to close out victory.

Soderling, who had been a tricky opponent, served for the set at 5-3 but lost his composure after the Swiss fought back to force a tie-break.

He began looking for big winners but instead hit a series of unforced errors which allowed Federer to see him off.

It was a good performance and I hope I can build on it. I am really looking forward to the third round now

Roger Federer
"The conditions were difficult with the sun coming in so low and it was hard to see the ball in the last few points," Federer explained afterwards.

"I was quite relieved in the end. Robin is a good player and I was really pleased to come through."

It was a good day all round for Federer with third seed Novak Djokovic, his scheduled semi-final opponent, tumbling out unexpectedly to the unpredictable Russian Marat Safin.

Soderling, ranked 41st in the world, did have his moments - notably a spectacular backhand pass down the line at full stretch in the second set - but he made too many unforced errors to seriously trouble the five-time champion.

Federer did wobble, however, and needed a big serve to dig himself out of trouble as he looked to close out the first set after a wild forehand put the Swede 30-40 up.

He had the edge over Soderling in the second set after breaking him in the first game.

Federer enjoys 'straightforward' victory

But he was pushed hard in the third set, dropping his serve on grass for the first time since his victory over Rafael Nadal in the 2007 final here.

Some fierce returns quickly saw him level though, and Soderling's hopes were quickly ended.

"It was a tougher game than my first-round match," Federer added. "Robin has a bigger serve and a more dangerous game on grass - but I played well, I was moving well and serving well - it was an excellent performance.

"I was quite relieved to get back and win the tie-break. I really had to dig deep and concentrate on my own serve - It was a big moment.

"It was a good performance and I hope I can build on it. I am really looking forward to the third round now."

Federer will now face Marc Gicquel of France, after his marathon late-night win over Serbia's Ilija Bozoljac, on Friday.


see also
Safin stuns lacklustre Djokovic
25 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Djokovic v Safin as it happened
25 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Wimbledon photos
25 Jun 08 |  Tennis


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