Federer crushes Tsonga, to face Murray

MELBOURNE; Roger Federer cruised into his 22nd Grand Slam final with an effortless straight sets win over listless Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Australian Open on Friday.

The Swiss top seed had no problems disposing of the 2008 runner-up and 10th seed, winning 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in just one hour 28 minutes on Rod Laver Arena. Federer will chase his fourth Australian Open title and 16th Grand Slam against British fifth seed Andy Murray in Sunday's final.

Tsonga looked a pale shadow of his best form as Federer did what he pleased to claim his 18th appearance in the last 19 Grand Slam finals. The Frenchman had won their last encounter, in three sets at Montreal last August, but it was never a contest at their third career meeting.

"I'm very happy, you always have to deal with how your opponent plays and sometimes he plays exactly the way you want, so it's nice going through a match like this," Federer said. "It won't be the same story in the next match I play here. Against top players it's always a huge bonus if you can win the first set because after that it always becomes more difficult. Maybe he was more mentally fatigued than physically, and that showed at the end."

Tsonga appeared to be physically struggling after his back-to-back five-setters against Nicolas Almagro and Novak Djokovic and Federer quickly capitalised. The big Frenchman parked himself well behind the baseline as the cool Swiss dictated the rallies and controlled the points.

Federer, a renowned front-runner, broke Tsonga twice in the fourth and eighth games to capture the opening set in just 31 minutes and was quickly after the lethargic Frenchman in the second set. The World No 1 was rolling through his service games and had Tsonga under pressure on his and broke him in the sixth game.

Federer, well in his comfort zone, raced to bring up two set points in the ninth game and served out for a two sets lead just over the hour. It got worse for the ailing Tsonga in the final set, Federer breaking him again in the third and fifth games to stroll to victory. Federer will now face Murray, who holds a 6-4 lead in their matches.