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Federer issues statement of intent

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:37

Roger Federer reminded those on Murray Mount of the task that faces the British No.1 if he is to end 73 years of hurt this weekend.

Murray first faces Andy Roddick in the second semi-final, but either Andy will face a mountainous task in the final against the world No.2, who is playing with the confidence last seen back in his purple patch of 2004-5.

The world No.2, through to his seventh successive Wimbledon final, simply outplayed Tommy Haas when it mattered on his way to a 7-6(3) 7-5 6-3 victory.

The five-time champion was the last player to beat the German in the fourth round at Roland Garros. Haas held a two-set lead over Federer and had a break point in the third before the Swiss raced back to complete an incredible 6-7(4) 5-7 6-4 6-0 6-2 victory.

Since then, both men had gone unbeaten. Federer went on to complete his career slam by lifting the French Open crown, and withdrew from his usual warm-up for grass at Halle. In his absence, Haas beat Novak Djokovic in the final, and repeated the trick against the Serbian in the last eight at SW19.

He sealed the match with a slam dunk smash that would have made Pete Sampras cry…

The first set was a cagey affair, dotted with flashes of brilliance. Haas soon ditched his early tactical decision to rush the net at every opportunity as Federer, aided by the heavy conditions on an overcast afternoon, picked him off at will with some stunning defence – a chipped backhand lob on the run that left Haas stranded one of a handful of standout shots.

The German survived a few early scares but held serve throughout the first, as did Federer. The five-time champion took the resultant tie-break comfortably as Haas self-combusted following a couple of errors.

There was little between them in the second either. Haas, never one to hide his emotions on court, screamed at himself in German in game seven after once again failing to make any impression on the Federer serve.

The Swiss managed to make inroads on return, reaching set point at 4-5. But Haas stood firm, recovering to stay in the set – only to slip to the same fate at 5-6. This time, though, Federer made it count at the second attempt when Haas sent a forehand long.

The German could only smile as he walked back to his chair, but looked unfazed when he held at the start of the third. But, with the sun coming out, Federer began enjoying himself. He began producing a display of grace and power with angled backhands and drive volleys as he twice held to love.

It was Federer who was left smiling when he finally dropped his first point on serve in game five. Haas had scrambled back a drop shot and cajoled Federer into missing his lob wide by waving in distraction at the net.

But the match was decided in game eight – and unfortunately for Haas, by a foot fault. The German never recovered after slipping to 15-40 following the call, and although he saved four break points with some huge serving and gung-ho winners, Federer’s fifth was a stretch too far. Haas chipped his approach shot into the net, leaving Federer serving for his place in the final.

He did so in style, serving out to love and sealing the match with a slam dunk smash that would have made Pete Sampras cry.

“I thought Tommy was on a great run, I couldn’t even get close to breaking him for almost two sets,” said Federer. “Sure, that makes me maybe a bit worried, but it’s something that happens quite frequently on grass.

“I was really happy the way I played today. I came up with some good stuff when I had to. Tough match, because Tommy was playing well.”

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