Federer, Murray in semis

LONDON: Five-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer reached his 21st consecutive Grand Slam semi-final on Wednesday with a majestic 6-3, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3) dismantling of giant Croatian Ivo Karlovic.

Federer, bidding for a sixth All England Club title and a record 15th major, will now tackle German veteran Tommy Haas, who stunned Serbian fourth seed Novak Djokovic 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 6-3, for a place in Sunday’s final.

British third seed Andy Murray, meanwhile, saw off

Spain’s former French Open winner Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 to reach his first Wimbledon semi-final. The 22-year-old, bidding to become Britain’s first home men’s champion since Fred Perry in 1936, faces either 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt or two-time runner-up Andy Roddick for a place in the final.

“It’s difficult against Karlovic because there aren’t many baseline rallies on his serve or mine,” said Federer after his 1hr 42min Centre Court win. “To be in my 21st consecutive major semi-final shows how consistent I have been and injury free. I’m playing well at the moment but there are some big matches to come.”

Going into Wednesday’s clash, Karlovic hadn’t dropped serve in the tournament,

had won 79 service games in four rounds and faced just four break points. But second seed Federer ended that streak in the fourth game when a sumptuous backhand return followed by a sublime forehand pass gave him the first break against the 6ft 10in Croatian to lead 3-1.

That quickly became 4-1 against a player he had already defeated eight times in nine matches. Federer wrapped up the opener after 23 minutes having conceded just three points in four service games. By comparison, 30-year-old Karlovic, the 22nd seed, suffered a dramatic powercut. Having fired a huge 137 aces to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final, he managed just three in the first set and won just 14 points on the Federer serve in the entire tie.

Federer broke again for a crucial 6-5 lead in the second set before racing through

the third set tie-break to claim his place in a seventh successive semi-final.

Murray became only the third British man to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals in the Open era after racing past wildcard Ferrero in an hour and 41 minutes. “There were quite a lot of errors from both of us at the start,” said Murray who sent down 18 aces.

Haas will be playing his first Wimbledon semi-final at

the 11th attempt thanks to his win over Djokovic who he also defeated in the Halle grasscourt final.

The German, a former World No 2 who has been plagued by injuries, dug deep to save three set points in the second set tiebreak and despite a third set recovery by the Serbian, Haas stayed on course to become the oldest champion since Arthur Ashe in 1975.