Gonzalez dominates Haas, enters final

Melbourne, January 26:

Tenth-seeded Fernando Gonzalez dominated Germany’s Tommy Haas 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 on Friday to reach the Australian Open final.

In a performance reminiscent of top-ranked Roger Federer’s rout of Andy Roddick a night earlier, Gonzalez was nearly flawless, leaving Haas stunned and frustrated with a brilliant array of shots that had the capacity crowd gasping.

Gonzalez had zero unforced errors in the first and third sets and only three for the match to go along with 42 winners that accounted for more than half of his 82 points. Gonzalez, who had never reached a Grand Slam semi-final before, will face Federer in Sunday’s final.

The Chilean ran off 11 points to start the first set, and Haas ended up with only 12 points in the seven games. Gonzalez slipped only slightly in the second set with 12 winners and three unforced errors as Haas, his confidence shattered, spiked his racket once and came close to slamming it into the court on two other occasions.

Haas tried to pick on Gonzalez’s backhand, but the Chilean just kept getting back slice after slice until he got a chance to wind up on a forehand and send zingers into the corners.

Gonzalez, who never faced a break point, finished it off with a backhand crosscourt winner for his seventh service break.

The women’s final on Saturday pits top-seeded Maria Sharapova against Serena Williams.