Fed sees off Roddick to continue Madrid march

SECOND seed Roger Federer remains on course for his first title of 2009 after continuing his almost total domination over Andy Roddick at the Madrid Open yesterday.

Federer, who has 57 career titles to his name but is without a tournament success since winning on home soil at Basle last October, had it far from easy against battling Roddick but finally got on top to record a 7-5 6-7 (5/7) 6-1 triumph.

That was the Swiss ace’s 18th win in 20 career meetings with sixth seed Roddick and he will next play either defending champion Andy Murray or Juan Martin Del Potro in the semi-finals.

“I thought it was a good match,” said Federer.

“I’m happy with the way I played today. I should have or could have won in straight sets but that is what happens sometimes when you play Andy.”

Recently-married Roddick, who survived two match points to beat Tommy Haas in the second round before receiving a walkover against the injured Nikolay Davydenko in the third round, said: “It’s disappointing, but I got into two pretty tough matches here and coming back after at least six weeks off, and on probably my least favourite surface, it could be worse.”

Also progressing to the last four yesterday was Novak Djokovic, who ended the brave bid of veteran Croatian Ivan Ljubicic to gatecrash the party of the top seeds.

All of the world’s top eight aside from last year’s Madrid Masters runner-up Gilles Simon managed to get through to the quarter-finals, with wild card Ljubicic taking that spot after knocking out both Simon and his fellow Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the ninth seed.

Ljubicic, the 2005 finalist in Madrid, was unable to continue that fine form though as he slumped to a 6-4 6-4 defeat against third seed Djokovic.

There was also no fairytale ending for Russian qualifier Vera Dushevina in the women’s event as she lost her quarter-final match against ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-0 6-4.

Wozniacki, who last year became the first Dane to break into the top 20, is now set to claim a top-10 berth in the world rankings when released next Monday.

The 18-year-old now faces a semi-final clash with former world number one Amelie Mauresmo, who defeated Agnes Szavay in a battle between two unseeded players.

Hungarian Szavay’s prospects of reaching her first semi-final of the year looked good as she took the opening set, but Mauresmo hit back in stunning style to take the match 5-7 6-1 6-1.

World number one Dinara Safina – one of three seeds to make it to the last eight – had no trouble booking her spot in the last four as she swept aside Alona Bondarenko 6-4 6-3.

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