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Federer demolishes Björkman

AFP · 7 Jul 2006, 18:04

Published: 07 Jul 2006 18:04 GMT+02:00

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The Swiss needed just one hour and 17 minutes to complete a 6-2, 6-0, 6-2 victory with a flawless, almost surgical, display of precision tennis.

He will now go into Sunday's final, against either second seed Rafael Nadal or Marcos Baghdatis, on a run that has seen him clock up 47 consecutive wins on grass.

"It was difficult because I was such a big favourite and you always hope you are going to live up expectations, and play to my own expectations," Federer said after one of the most one-sided semi-finals in living memory.

"He is a veteran and he obviously knows his way about the court, so I had to be careful. I played a secure game at the beginning and then I really got on a roll and played some excellent tennis.

"I was in every service game and I think that was difficult for him."

Federer said he did not mind whether he faced his great rival Nadal or Baghdatis, whom he beat in the Australian Open final, on Sunday.

"They have both given me a run for my money in the past, especially Nadal obviously, and it was great fun playing Baghdatis in the Australian Open final and it would be nice to play him again."

Björkman had defied the odds with a run that made him the oldest Wimbledon semi-finalist since Jimmy Connors back in 1987.

But there was never much prospect of him interfering with Federer's majestic procession towards the final, where he will seek to become the first player since Björn Borg in 1976 to win the biggest prize in tennis without dropping a set.

In three previous meetings with the world number one, Björkman had never managed to take a set.

On this occasion, his resistance lasted exactly ten minutes.

That was how long it took for Federer to secure his first break in the third game of the afternoon.

A lovely little flick of the wrist produced a crosscourt backhand winner for a second break and a 5-2 lead and a service game to love duly wrapped up the first set in 27 minutes.

Story continues below…

Björkman's body language was already suggesting defeat was inevitable at that stage and he grew steadily more dejected as the Swiss master rattled through the second set with a nonchalance that bordered on a swagger.

The Swede might have got a sniff of a chance as Federer served at 15-30 in the fourth game of the set only to have his hopes crushed by three consecutive aces.

Another break at the start of the third set allowed Federer to extend his winning run of games to 11 before Björkman finally managed to hold serve in the third game of the set, prompting a huge cheer from the crowd.

Respite was brief however and Björkman managed to pick up only one more game before Federer could start preparing for what will certainly be a tougher test in the final.

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