WIMBLEDON, England &
Five-time champion Roger Federer outclassed Mario Ancic &
the last man to beat him at Wimbledon &
in straight sets today to reach the semifinals and extend his grass-court winning streak to 64 matches on the first day of significant rain delays at the All England Club.
Riding his dominant serve and punishing forehand, Federer put on a masterful performance to beat Ancic 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 and move another step closer to becoming the second man in history to win Wimbledon six years in a row.
Federer served 15 aces, and finished with three straight in the final game &
including with a second serve on match point. He won 61 of 71 points on serve, including his last 16, for his 39th straight win at Wimbledon.
"I'm playing great, serving excellent," said Federer, who hasn't dropped a set all tournament. "Many aces is always helpful. Some rain delays broke my momentum a little bit. I got back into the match and played really well all the way through."
This was Federer at his vintage best, holding serve with ease and gliding across the court and ripping shots that flew past Ancic or forced him into errors.
Federer will next face the winner of the quarterfinal between Marat Safin and Feliciano Lopez.
After the start of play was held up for nearly an hour, Federer walked onto Centre Court in his custom-made cardigan just after 1:45 p.m. and glanced up at the threatening skies.
It looked like he wanted to get things over as quickly as possible against Ancic, who beat him in the first round of Wimbledon in 2002, a year before Federer began his run of five titles.
Federer charged through the first set in 20 minutes &
winning 12 of the first 14 points, hitting six aces and winning 16 of his 17 service points. The two were 1-1 in the second set before the rain came again and the covers were rolled back onto Centre Court.
They resumed play 2 hours, 10 minutes later, and the two kept holding serve and looked headed toward a tiebreaker until Ancic wobbled and Federer broke for a 6-5 lead. From 30-30, Ancic handed the game to Federer with three straight errors &
two missed backhand volleys and a double fault on break point.
Federer promptly served out the set, closing with a 129 mph ace down the middle.
The first game of the third set was a 16-minute marathon &
only four minutes shorter than the entire first set. The game went to deuce 10 times and Ancic saved four break points before finally converting on his seventh game point with a forehand volley winner, holding up a clenched left fist.
But it was only a matter of time for Federer to break again, and he did for 3-2 when Ancic sailed a forehand long. That was enough as Federer closed it out five games later.
In the seventh game of the set, Ancic ducked and dropped to his knees to get out of the way of a Federer forehand that whizzed past his head at the net. A smiling Federer walked around the net to say he was sorry, and Ancic playfully tossed a ball at him.
Other than a — hour, 41 minute rain delay at the start of play last Friday, Wimbledon had basked in remarkably good weather.
Rafael Nadal, bidding to become the first man to win the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year since Bjorn Borg in 1980, was due to play Andy Murray in the second quarterfinal on Centre Court. The 12th-seeded Murray, playing in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal, is trying to become the first British man to win the title in 72 years.
The winner of that match will advance to the semifinals against No. 94-ranked Rainer Schuettler or No. 145-ranked Arnaud Clement. The 32-year-old Schuettler will be playing in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal in five years, and Clement last reached the final eight at a major in 2001.
Two-time major champion Safin was playing in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal since winning the Australian Open in 2005.
The women's tournament, meanwhile, seems headed toward the first all-Williams final in five years.
Venus and Serena Williams, who between them have won six of the last eight Wimbledon titles, are one round away from a third Wimbledon title matchup and seventh Grand Slam championship showdown. Neither has dropped a set so far, and their power games have set them apart from the rest of the women's field.
Next up for two-time champion Serena in Thursday's semifinals is Zheng Jie, who became the first Chinese player to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam by beating Nicole Vaidisova 6-2, 5-7, 6-1. The 133rd-ranked Zheng is also the first wild-card entrant to reach the women's semis at Wimbledon and second at any Grand Slam.
Defending champion and four-time winner Venus will next face No. 5 Elena Dementieva, who wasted a 5-1 lead and two match points in the second set before beating fellow Russian Nadia Petrova 6-1, 6-7 (6), 6-3 to reach her first Wimbledon semifinal.
Federer beats Ancic to reach Wimbledon semifinals
WIMBLEDON, England &