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Federer to play his seventh Wimbledon final in a row

Latest update : 2008-07-04

World number 1 player Roger Federer qualifies for his seventh Wimbledon final in a row after beating Marat Safin in three sets, 6-3, 7-6, 6-4. He will meet either Rafael Nadal or German suprise semi-finalist Rainer Schuettler.

Roger Federer marched into his sixth consecutive Wimbledon final with an awe-inspiring demolition of the revitalised Marat Safin.

A near flawless display ensured the world number one was detained on Centre Court for just one hour and 41 minutes as he compiled a 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 win over the Russian to set up what is expected to be another showdown with Rafael Nadal in the final.

Nadal had to overcome Germany's Rainer Schuettler in the second semi-final to keep that appointment.

But everything points to a potential classic on Sunday with Federer insisting he is ready to claim revenge for the mauling he received at the hands of his Spanish rival in last month's French Open final.

"It is great," Federer said after wrapping up what was his 65th straight win on grass. "It is a beautiful feeling to have the opportunity to win the title again here."

Federer, who is bidding to become the first player to win six consecutive titles at the All England since the 19th Century, admitted he had been surprised by the ubiquity of predictions that Nadal would deny him the place in history he craves.

"I guess you can say what ever you like but I was surprised by how intense it was," he said. "But the fact was that Rafa beat me so easily in Paris and went on to win at Queens.

"He has been playing fantastically but don't write me off too quickly because this is my part of the season, Wimbledon and the US Open."

Safin came into the match having won five successive matches for the first time since he claimed the second of his two Grand Slam titles, at the 2005 Australian Open.

But any confidence he had in the bank as a result of that run, which included a straight sets win over third Novak Djokovic, began to dissolve almost immediately as Federer sandwiched two service games to love around a break in the second game of the match.

The only sniff of a chance Safin had in the opening set came when he got his opponent to 30-30 in the ninth game. The world number one responded with an ace and a service winner to wrap up the set in just 25 minutes.

Safin finally managed to generate a couple of break points in the fourth game of the second but under-powered service returns on both of them ensured he did not get a chance to convert either one.

The 28-year-old was even less convincing in the tiebreak, gifting Federer control with unforced backhand errors on three of the first four points.

Judging by the despondent slope of his shoulders and the guttural roar of irritation he released as Federer rolled off another service game to love in the third game of the third set, Safin could see no way back.

On that, his judgement was correct.

As Federer moved into a 5-4 lead the Russian was handed a warning by the umpire for flinging his racquet to the ground in another display of frustration with the way the afternoon was unfolding.

Unsurprisingly, Federer wrapped things up in the next game, whipping a topspin backhand across court after Safin's approach had clipped the top of the net.

Date created : 2008-07-04