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Page last updated at 14:44 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 15:44 UK

Federer comes through first test

WIMBLEDON
Date: 22 June - 5 July
Coverage: BBC One, BBC Two, BBC HD, Red Button, website streaming (UK only) and text commentary, 5 Live, 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC iPlayer
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Roger Federer

Federer sees off Kohlschreiber

By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Roger Federer remains the man to beat at Wimbledon after surviving his first serious test against 27th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round.

Federer, going for a sixth Wimbledon title, withstood a fightback from the German to win 6-3 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-1.

The threat of rain seemed the only way he might be derailed early on but there proved no need to give the Centre Court roof its debut in a competitive match.

Federer lost his rhythm in the latter stages but won in two hours 31 minutes.

And despite that third-set hiccup, the 27-year-old declared it his best performance of the tournament so far.

"I thought it was a good match. I thought the rhythm was very high," he said.

Federer 'excited' about second week

"Sure, I would have loved to win in straight sets, but he came back strong. Maybe my serve let go just a little bit.

"I was happy how I reacted. I didn't panic. It was an excellent match in the end."

Next up will be Robin Soderling, who beat Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 6-4 to set up a repeat of the French Open final, which the Swiss won.

Victory in the Paris final took his win-loss record over the Swede to 10-0.

"I try not to underestimate anyone," said Federer.

"It's like today, for instance. Kohlschreiber, he hung in there even though I was playing great. That's what I expect with Soderling.

"He's got a huge game. Now he's also got the taste of beating the top players. That only makes him more dangerous.

"But I still think most important is, or what stands out to me, is that I've beaten him so many times that it gives me an incredible amount of confidence."

Soderling, the 13th seed, does not believe his hopes of a first win against Federer are any greater on grass than they were at the French Open.

"I've played him 10 times," said the Swede. "After the match I never felt like I played well. But it's not because of me, I think it's because of him. He makes you play bad. I'd like to improve everything from Paris."

After ending his wait for the French Open title, Federer is now trying to win a record 15th Grand Slam title, and the absence of world number one and defending champion Rafael Nadal through injury means he is the favourite to do so.

On the back of finally landing a first French Open title earlier this month and so completing the set of Grand Slams, he looked completely untroubled in his first two matches at the All England Club.

And taking on Kohlschreiber was certainly not a daunting prospect for Federer, who went into the match with a 3-0 record against the German including two wins on grass in Halle.

It was no surprise when the world number two raced into an early lead but from 4-0, 40-15, the Swiss had a lapse of concentration.

Kohlschreiber recovered to get one break back, held serve and then moved to 0-30 at 4-2 down.

For Federer at Wimbledon this year it constituted a mini crisis, and he quickly regained his focus and served his way out of trouble before easing through the rest of the set.

A stunning drop volley on the stretch helped the 27-year-old break at the start of the second and by now Kohlschreiber was struggling to win points, let alone games.

Federer broke again before wrapping up the set after just 68 minutes with a sublime lob followed by two aces, and a couple of forehand winners had him a break up at the start of the third.

That appeared to be the beginning of the end for Kohlschreiber, but a few more unforced errors from Federer and the occasional blistering winner from the German made the third set a tight affair.

606: DEBATE

Kohlschreiber saw a couple of break points go begging in game four as he failed to make effective returns at the key times but made no mistake when the chance came again, levelling at 4-4 thanks in part to a net cord.

It was the German who now had the edge, moving 4-1 clear in the ensuing tie-break and soon earning two set points, the second of which he took with a rasping cross-court backhand.

Any hopes Kohlschreiber had of turning the screw receded when he double-faulted to again drop serve at the start of the fourth set, but Federer was now struggling for consistency, and had to save a break-back point in the following game.

The Swiss got the security of a second break with a huge forehand pass on the run in game six but had to stave off another two break points when he served for the match, finally sealing it with a forehand winner.



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