Federer moves on to semis

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, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

NEW YORK -- Roger Federer advanced to his seventh straight U.S. Open semifinal by avenging a loss earlier this year to Swede Robin Soderling with a three-set triumph Wednesday night.

The second-seeded Federer, attempting to win the tournament for the sixth time, earned a 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 victory over the fifth-seeded Soderling in windy conditions in the final match of the night at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Next up for the super Swiss will be third seed Novak Djokovic, who took out 17th-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils, 7-6 (7-2), 6-1, 6-2, in the day session.

Federer, who owns a men's record 16 major titles, including this year's Aussie Open crown, fired 18 aces to just two for his opponent. Federer won points on 50 of his 58 first serves and had 36 winners.

"If I can't serve in the wind I've got a problem here," Federer said. "You could wake me up at two in the morning or 4 in the morning, I can hit serves. It's what we do and I'm so happy it worked so well tonight."

Soderling, the reigning two-time French Open runner-up who snapped Federer's streak of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semifinal appearances by winning in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros earlier this year, had just 16 winners and couldn't solve the gusty conditions or his opponent's serve.

Federer, who lost to Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in last year's final here and was the U.S. Open champ from 2004-08, has not dropped a set yet at this fortnight. He moved to 13-1 all-time against Soderling, also beating him in last year's U.S. Open quarters and last year's French Open finale. This was their fifth straight meeting in a Grand Slam tourney.

A great drop shot gave Federer a break of serve in the first set for a 4-3 lead. Soderling was 0-for-4 on break point chances in the set and Federer held at love his final two service games.

In the second set, Federer was actually broken in the fourth game to square the set at 2-2. But he broke back on a passing shot and later used an ace down the middle to finish off the set.

A wide forehand from Federer gave Soderling a break in the third for a 5-3 lead, but Federer won the final four games, thanks in part to mistakes from the Swede. Soderling barked at himself after failing to come up with a return at the net as the set was soon evened at 5-5.

Soderling then fought off one break point, but a backhand wide gave Federer the big advantage for a 6-5 lead, putting the match on his racquet. He held at love in the final game, fittingly ending the encounter with an ace.

Earlier in the day, a tough first set went to Djokovic when Monfils played a rather poor tiebreak, and the second set was a throw-away one for the Frenchman, as the Serb simply dominated the stanza.

In the third set, Monfils had a chance to break Djokovic to pull within 3-4 and then serve to tie things up, but the Serb managed a key hold to go up 5-2 and then broke his French counterpart to reach the semis.

Djokovic moved on in 2 hours, 28 minutes, as he broke Monfils no less than seven times en route to victory. The Serb tallied 13 more unforced errors (50-37) on Day 10 of the fortnight, but he also connected for 21 more winners (38-17).

The 23-year-old Djokovic is now a perfect 5-0 lifetime against Monfils, including a first-round win here in New York back in 2005.

The former world No. 2 Djokovic will perform in his fourth U.S. Open and ninth career Grand Slam semifinal (2-6). The steady Serbian star was the 2007 U.S. Open runner-up to the great Federer and captured the Aussie Open championship in 2008.

Federer is 10-5 all-time against Djokovic, including a straight-set semifinal victory at the U.S. Open a year ago. In fact, Federer has eliminated the Serbian in Flushing Meadows each of the last three years.

Two more quarterfinals will be staged here on Thursday, when top-ranked Rafael Nadal meets eighth-seeded fellow Spanish lefthander Fernando Verdasco and 12th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny takes on 25th-seeded Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka. Nadal is the reigning Wimbledon and French Open champ and owns eight major titles overall, but he still needs a U.S. Open one to complete a rare men's career Grand Slam. Youzhny reached the final four here back in 2006.

Nadal is a laughable 10-0 lifetime against Verdasco, including 2-0 in Grand Slam events.


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