Federer enters record 20th Grand Slam final

LONDON: Roger Federer reached a record 20th Grand Slam final and a seventh straight Wimbledon title match with a 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, 6-3 win over German veteran Tommy Haas in the semi-finals on Friday.

Five-time Wimbledon champion Federer, who is chasing a record 15th Grand Slam crown, now tackles either Britain’s Andy Murray or Andy Roddick of the US in Sunday’s final. Watched by Grand Slam greats Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver, comfortably installed in the Royal Box, the World No 2 put on a magnificent show of serving against the German 31-year-old, not giving up a single break point.

“Tommy played great so I knew that there was a danger. I’m happy with my performance and it’s unbelievable to be in another final,” said Federer. “I have had a lot of pressure over the years but I am looking forward to another great match and a chance to get into the history books.”

The opening set was dominated by serve, but the Swiss second seed was the strongest in the tiebreak. He went to three set points when Haas unleashed a loose forehand with the World No 2 wrapping up the set when the German, stranded behind the baseline, pushed a backhand into the net.

It was the dream start for Federer after the nightmare beginning he suffered against the same opponent at the French Open last month when he had to recover from losing the first two sets in the fourth round.

Former World No 1 Haas, playing in his first Wimbledon semi-final, had to save a set point, which was also the first break point of the match, at 4-5 in the second set. But the Swiss broke through in the 12th game for a two-sets lead when another Haas forehand went long. Haas cracked for the last time in the eighth game of the third set when he netted an easy approach having saved four break points. Federer then wrapped up the semi-final in just over two hours on his first match point with a spectacular, athletic smash.

In second semi-final, Murray will be looking to become the first British men’s finalist since Bunny Austin in 1938. Fred Perry was the last British men’s champion in 1936. Roddick, the sixth seed and 2003 US Open winner, was runner-up here in 2004 and 2005, losing both finals to Federer.