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Last Updated: Friday, 30 January, 2004, 10:34 GMT
Federer races past Ferrero
Roger Federer celebrates his semi-final victory
Maybe I have a poker face, but I get really nervous
Roger Federer
Roger Federer booked his place in the final of the Australian Open with a flawless three-set victory over Juan Carlos Ferrero.

The comfortable 6-4 6-1 6-4 victory also saw the Swiss player take over the world number one spot from American Andy Roddick.

The Wimbledon champion never looked back after seizing his first break in the 10th game of the opening set.

He will now take on Russian Marat Safin in Sunday's final in Melbourne.

"I love it," said Federer, after climbing to the top of the rankings for the first time in his career.

"I missed it in Montreal against Roddick and to take it this time, well I was really nervous.

"Now I'm looking forward to playing Safin. He is one of my favourites to play against, not just because of our results, but he is a great guy.

"I am confident. Have you ever seen a number one in the world who is not that confident?"

Federer certainly stamped his authority on his semi-final encounter with Ferrero, who was the most consistent Grand Slam player of last year after reaching two finals.

Juan Carlos Ferrero
I started to feel the pain in my legs - it was a disaster
Juan Carlos Ferrero
But the way the match opened up in Melbourne the crowd could have been forgiven for thinking they were in for another five-set battle.

The Spanish third seed carved out four break points in the seventh game with his powerful forehands, forcing Federer to dig deep to save the game.

Ferrero's own resilience on his service game came to an abrupt end in the 10th game.

A combination of ruthless strokeplay by Federer and unforced errors by Ferrero handed the Swiss the break and the first set 6-4.

From there the match was effectively over as a contest as the Wimbledon champion raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set.

Federer easily broke Ferrero again to wrap up the second set, leaving the Spaniard floundering with his pinpoint forehands and determination to chase down every ball.

Ferrero, who seemed to be struggling with a groin injury, tried to change the rhythm of the match by coming forward to the net.

But the French Open champion could find no answer to Federer's passing shots and lashing volleys and the Swiss secured the crucial break in the seventh game.

Federer wrapped up the match when Ferrero hit his return long and the new world number one now goes in search of a second Grand Slam crown to add to his Wimbledon title.





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Australian Open finalist Roger Federer
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