Federer one win short of making history in Australia

January 29th, 2009 - 10:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Roger FedererMelbourne, Jan 29 (DPA) Roger Federer continued his career domination of Andy Roddick Thursday, earning a place in an 18th career Grand Slam final with a 6-2, 7-5, 7-5 win over the American at the Australian Open.Second seed Federer now stands one victory away from equalling the all-time best of 14 Grand Slam singles titles held by Pete Sampras.

He will get his chance Sunday when he plays one of two Spaniards, hot rival Rafael Nadal or on-form Fernando Verdasco.

Roddick’s joy last March in Miami when he broke an 11-match losing streak against the flawless Swiss evaporated as Federer resumed normal service with his 16th victory from the pair’s 18 meetings dating to 2001.

“I came into this match after losing to him last time, I was coming in with a bit of pressure,” said Federer, looking for his 58th career title. “I knew I had a tough challenge ahead.

“I have not played him in nine months. I read his serve well in the first set, I played really well tonight.”

Federer owns the American in Grand Slams, winning all seven of their matches at the majors.

Federer has appeared in 13 of the last 14 Grand Slam finals, including an all-time record streak of 10 consecutive finals, which ended in Melbourne a year ago when he lost to Novak Djokovic while nursing the effects of glandular fever.

Three-time women’s winner Serena Williams will bid for her 10th Grand Slam title to mark a decade of play at Melbourne Park when she faces Dinara Safina in their Saturday final.

Second seed Williams, who has lifted Melbourne trophies during odd-numbered years dating to 2003, is going after her fourth at the venue.

The American snapped a three-match loss streak to Elena Dementieva as she knocked the Russian out 6-3, 6-4.

Third seed Safina followed in the footsteps of her big brother Marat Safin, the 2005 champion, by beating fellow Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).

Safina said that the Australian final means much to her. “I watched my brother on TV when he won it. Even now, if I watch it would bring tears to my eyes.

“He’s always been my idol, to do as well as him is just amazing. It would be amazing to have the same trophy as my brother, a dream comes true.”

The women’s number one ranking is also on the line - winner take all.

“Right now that would be just a bonus,” said Williams, adding: “But my goal isn’t to be number one. My goal is to obviously now win one more match here at the Australian Open.”

Safina said: “Since I was growing up, it was my dream. To fight for this would be unbelievable. I hope it will be a great match with the winner deserving to be number one.”

Williams handed Dementieva her first loss of the season after winning her first 15 matches, including titles in Auckland and Sydney.

Against Roddick, Federer snapped up the first set in 32 minutes, won the last eight points to seal the second and broke in the 11th game of the third before serving it out with a down-the-line winner.

Federer out-aced Roddick 16 to eight and struck nearly 50 winners in the awesome display.

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