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Federer has Tsonga chasing shadows in Oz semi

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:53

Roger Federer will look to extend Great Britain’s ’150,000-year’ wait for a men’s Grand Slam champion – and claim his 16th title in the process – with victory over Andy Murray in Sunday’s final after effortlessly dispatching Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2 6-3 6-2 in their semi-final.

The world No.1 was in imperious form, denying the Frenchman a single break point in the 90-minute encounter and providing a sumptuous display of shot making from all corners of the court.

In truth Tsonga’s five set quarter-final victory over Novak Djokovic looked to have taken its toll mentally if not physically, but rarely did he occupy the same stratosphere as Federer. Desperation kicked in late in the second set as the No.10 seed’s gung-ho approach failed to reap rewards.

“Definitely it will be tactical. It is always a tactical game against him” – Federer on Murray

“It is always difficult to play top players, sometimes it plays out the way you want it to and sometimes you have to work a lot harder,” said Federer, who admitted to enjoying the match afterwards.

“It was just so important to win that first set and get that good start. I thought it was quite intense early but maybe he was more fatigued mentally than physically, I think that showed near the end.”

After a nip and tuck start to the match, the No.1 seed broke his opponent in game four of the match and once more in game eight to take the first set.

A solitary break in the second set was enough for the Swiss to move within a set of the final, and breaks in the third and fifth games of the final set finished the job.

The final will be Federer’s eighth Grand Slam title match in succession – and 22nd of his career – though of those eight he has lost five, including the last to Juan Martin del Potro in New York.

Regardless, the 15-time Grand Slam champion was in jovial mood in the on-court interview with Jim Courier after the match as he looked forward to facing Murray on Sunday.

“I know that he’d like to win the first title in British tennis in, what is it 150,000 years?” said Federer with a grin. “It would be so nice for him. He’s a nice guy.”

But Federer, admitting he was a calmer player following his career-defining exploits at Roland Garros and Wimbledon last year, is not prepared to roll over to hand Murray his own place in history. “I will have to be aggressive,” he continued.

“We’ve had some different types of matches against each other,” he added. “We sometimes like to jerk around on the court and play some high balls at each other. Definitely it will be tactical. It is always a tactical game against him.”

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