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Page last updated at 13:58 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 14:58 UK

Federer sees off Karlovic threat

WIMBLEDON
Date: 22 June - 5 July
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Tennis on the BBC

Roger Federer

Highlights - Federer dispatches Karlovic

By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Roger Federer brilliantly dismissed the suggestion he might struggle with Ivo Karlovic's serve as he beat the Croat to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals.

The five-time champion broke as early as game five with two fabulous returns and went on to win 6-3 7-5 7-6 (7-3).

Federer went into the match with an 8-1 record against the 6ft 10in 22nd seed and he proved far too good once again.

The Swiss will face 24th seed Tommy Haas in the semis on Friday after the German beat fourth seed Novak Djokvoic.

On another blisteringly hot day at the All England Club, Federer matched Karlovic on serve from the start on Centre Court and, as expected, fared much better on return.

Roger Federer

Wimbledon consistency pleases Federer

The Croat was restricted to just three aces in the first set and, after 80 games unbeaten on serve at the championships, Federer finally made the breakthrough in game five.

An instinctive backhand return down the line brought up break point and an equally impressive forehand on the opposite flank moments later put Federer 4-1 up.

He served out the set in just 23 minutes and looked on course to break again at 3-3 in the second, when two poor errors saw Karlovic in trouble at 30-30.

However, Federer missed with a forehand pass and Karlovic - now wearing sunglasses - survived for the moment.

It's still far away - many points, many serves, many forehands

Federer on his chances of a record-breaking 15th Grand Slam title

A tie-break looked inevitable at 5-5 but Federer sensed a chance, and broke again with a smash, a backhand return and a forehand down the line from 15-15.

The third set was totally dominated by serve and came down to the tie-break that many had predicted for every set.

Federer got the mini-break when he got a Karlovic serve back and the Croat floated a backhand long, and a fizzing backhand winner helped him to victory in one hour 42 minutes.

The victory takes Federer into a 21st consecutive Grand Slam semi-final and keeps him on course to set a new record of 15 Grand Slam titles.

"I love the record I have in reaching so many Grand Slam semi-finals," he told BBC Sport.

Roger Federer
Federer will face Germany's Tommy Haas in the semi-finals

"Twenty-one is quite a number and it shows how consistent and injury-free I've been.

"Once you are in this kind of position you try to win the tournament. It is great that I have been able to play consistently this week, it has been good and I'm really excited.

"I have just won Madrid and beat Rafa there, I won Paris for the first time and have come into Wimbledon on a winning streak. I am sure I'd be even more confident if I'd won here last year."

But he refused to get too carried away about his chances of winning a record 15th Grand Slam title.

"I just won my quarters, so my mind has not started wondering yet," he said. "I think tomorrow I'll prepare for a tough weekend ahead of me.

"It would be writing in the history books of tennis but it's not there yet.

606: DEBATE

"It's still far away - many points, many serves, many forehands."

Karlovic, who had beaten top-10 duo Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Fernando Verdasco in the previous two rounds, admitted that Federer had been too good.

"He returned a few shots unbelievably and I could not really react on it," said the 22nd seed. "And there was also a little bit of a problem with the sun in my eyes.

"I was a little bit nervous in the beginning. In the first two sets he was playing unbelievably. He almost did not give me any chance.

Federer's maybe the best player ever but, on the grass, he's by far the best

Ivo Karlovic

"In the third set, he went a little bit down and I started playing better.

"I had my opportunity in one game when I could have broken him, but I missed an easy volley, and that was it.

"When I look at it, I did everything right. I don't know what else I could do."

And the Croat was in no doubt who would win the title this year, saying: "Federer's maybe the best player ever but, on the grass, he's by far the best."



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see also
Karlovic v Federer as it happened
01 Jul 09 |  Tennis
Wimbledon day nine as it happened
01 Jul 09 |  Tennis
Murray through to Wimbledon semis
01 Jul 09 |  Tennis
Roddick win sets up Murray clash
01 Jul 09 |  Tennis
Haas stuns Djokovic to make semis
01 Jul 09 |  Tennis
Federer sweeps into quarter-final
29 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Wimbledon: Live map
22 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Results
26 Jun 07 |  Results
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles results
26 Jun 07 |  Results
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis


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