Federer reaches Hamburg semis

Hamburg, May 16:

Defending champion Roger Federer cruised into the semi-finals of the Hamburg Masters by beating Fernando Verdasco of Spain 6-3, 6-3 on Friday.

The top-ranked Swiss player broke Verdasco to win the first set. Verdasco, who lost in the first round to Federer in Hamburg three years ago in their only previous encounter, had his right foot taped after taking a 3-2 lead in the second set and didn’t win another game. The tournament is a major warmup for the French Open, the only Grand Slam title that Federer has yet to win.

Italian Open

ROME: Fifth-seeded Serena Williams withdrew from her quarter-final match at the Italian Open due to a back problem.Williams’ back froze suddenly while warming up on a practice court for her match with French Alize Cornet. In the semi-finals, Cornet will meet sixth-seeded Anna Chakvetadze, who beat Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.