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By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon


Federer is trying to win his 13th Grand Slam title

Roger Federer reached his sixth consecutive Wimbledon final with a comfortable win over Marat Safin.

The world number one extended his unbeaten record on grass to 65 matches with a 6-3 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 victory.

Federer dominated the unseeded Safin from the outset on Centre Court, winning in one hour 41 minutes to stay on track for a sixth title.

The 26-year-old Swiss will face Rafael Nadal in Sunday's final after the second seed beat Rainer Schuettler.

"It's great," Federer told BBC Sport afterwards. "It's a beautiful feeling to get the opportunity to win the title here.

"It means so much to me. Playing against Safin is always a pleasure and it's a great win for me. I'm really, really happy."

Don't write me off too quickly because this is my part of the season now

Roger Federer

Safin, 28, is a former world number one and two-time Grand Slam champion, but is currently ranked 75th in the world after a lengthy slump in form.

Federer went into the match with an 8-2 record in head-to-head meetings, but the lingering memory of an epic win in the 2005 Australian Open semis gave the Russian a glimmer of hope.

It did not last long; within eight minutes, Federer was 3-0 up and in total control and Safin's pre-match prediction that he had little chance soon proved accurate.

A wayward Safin forehand gave Federer a break point in game two and the Swiss dominated a lengthy rally before taking it with a thumping backhand to break.

There were no alarms for the world number one as he strolled through the set in 25 minutes, four big serves sealing it.

Safin's first chance came in game four of the second set when he finally engineered two break points but the Russian could not find an effective return when it mattered, and Federer swatted away a couple of mid-court forehands to get out of trouble.

Saifa Arumashi

The set came down to a tie-break but there was little sense of a threat from Safin, who opened with three backhand errors in the first four points and went to the changeover at 5-1 down.

A blistering Federer forehand roused an understandably quiet Centre Court crowd as he comfortably secured a two-set lead.

And with the match seemingly in his pocket, the relaxed champion stepped up another gear in the third set with some beautiful tennis, prompting the temperamental Safin to scream in frustration for the first time in game four.

The forlorn Russian took the opportunity for brief some respite in the following game by sitting on a linesman's chair while waiting for a Hawkeye challenge - which, naturally, he lost.

That gave proceedings even more of the air of an exhibition, interrupted only by a characteristic bout of Safin racquet smashing, before Federer hit a beautiful angled backhand on his first match point.

Asked afterwards if victory meant more to him this year than ever before, Federer said: "The first one was more important than this."

And of the increasing suggestions leading up to the tournament that he might be a fading force, the Swiss added: "I guess you can always say what you like.

"I was a little bit surprised how intense it was - but it was because Rafa played so well in Paris and then winning Queen's. He's been playing fantastically as well.

"Don't write me off too quickly because this is my part of the season now."

see also
Wimbledon photos
04 Jul 08 |  Tennis
Federer battles to fourth crown
09 Jul 06 |  Tennis

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