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Nadal and Federer stroll into semis

Latest update : 2008-07-03

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both qualified for Wimbledon's semi-finals in under two hours of play. The Swiss N.1 will meet Marat Safin, while the Spaniard will face either France's Arnaud Clément or Germany's Rainer Schuettler.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal moved to within one win each of a third successive Wimbledon final showdown after cruising through their quarter-finals on Wednesday.


Federer kept up his flawless record at the All England Club this year by dispatching unseeded Croatian Mario Ancic 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 to reach his 17th consecutive Grand Slam semi-final.


Nadal followed Federer on Centre Court and produced an even more intimidating display to destroy Andy Murray 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.


Federer faces former world number one Marat Safin, who defeated Feliciano Lopez 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3, while Nadal takes on either Rainer Schuettler or Arnaud Clement for a place in Sunday's final.


If the world's two best players can win those matches they will collide in a Grand Slam final for the sixth time and the 14th in all tournaments.


Nadal's confidence is sky-high after his three-set thrashing of Federer in the French Open final last month, but he has yet to get the better of the world number one on grass, losing to the Swiss in two successive Wimbledon finals.


Federer was never seriously tested by Ancic, the last man to beat him on grass at Wimbledon in 2002, as he extended his unbeaten run on grass to 64 matches in just one hour and 42 minutes.

Safin beat Federer the last time they met in a Grand Slam semi-final at the 2005 Australian Open, so the defending champion has no intention of underestimating his next opponent.


"I never looked at Marat like No. 89 in the world. That's ridiculous. He knows that himself," Federer said.


"He's finally showing again what he can do. It's just quite surprising he does it here at Wimbledon in some ways, because he used to dislike playing on this surface.


"But I feel so comfortable on this Centre Court that my confidence level is obviously very high."


Murray had shown off his biceps after beating Richard Gasquet in the last round but Nadal is a real heavyweight and he swatted aside the British number one to leave the host nation still waiting for a first men's singles success since Fred Perry's triumph in 1936.


Nadal admitted he had never played better at Wimbledon.


"I played probably my best match against a difficult opponent," he said. "I was very aggressive on my forehand and backhand and had a lot of power. But I was surprised to win in straight sets and I'm happy to be in the semi-finals."


Safin reached his first Grand Slam semi-final for three years after recovering from a typically temperamental start against Lopez.


Safin looked in danger of imploding when he was given a warning for ball abuse and dropped the first set, but he kept his cool to brush aside the Spanish 31st seed.


The world number 75 will be a huge underdog against Federer, who beat him at Wimbledon last year, but he climbed the sixth highest mountain in the world in Nepal last year, so even taking on the Swiss won't seem an impossible task.


"I want to believe I'm back. I have gone up a few steps in the rankings, back in the top 50, which is great. No matter what I do against Roger it has been a great two weeks," Safin said.

Date created : 2008-07-02