Federer and Murray stay on collision course

ROGER FEDERER and Andy Murray stayed on course for a Wimbledon final clash with straight-sets victories in the quarter-finals yesterday.

ROGER FEDERER and Andy Murray stayed on course for a Wimbledon final clash with straight-sets victories in the quarter-finals yesterday.

Title favourite Federer defeated big-serving Ivo Karlovic 6-3 7-5 7-6 (7/3) to reach his 21st consecutive grand slam semi-final, while third seed Murray was also a winner on Centre Court, beating wild card Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-5 6-3 6-2.

The British number one spared the crowd the nailbiting tension of his fourth-round win over Stanislas Wawrinka, a five-set epic that finished at 10.39pm under the new roof.

“I’m very happy to come through in straight sets because I had a long one the round before,” said Murray.

“There were quite a lot of errors from both of us at the start. I served very well but from the back of the court it was very, very hot out there and quick, so there were quite a few mistakes early in the match.

“Once I got the first set, I started to settle down and I returned great at the end.”

Federer was just as impressive against 6ft 10in Karlovic, who had blitzed his way through to the quarter-finals — serving 137 aces and dumping out top-10 duo Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Fernando Verdasco in the previous two rounds.

But it took only four games for Federer to break the Croatian’s serve for the first time in the tournament, and he was rarely troubled thereafter.

“He’s got a phenomenal serve,” continued Federer, 27. “The way he backs it up with his volleys, it’s quite something.

“I still got 23 aces (from Karlovic) but where I’m definitely good is when it really matters, and you get maybe only a couple of chances a match.

“I thought it was an excellent match. I’m relieved I’m through.”

Federer will next face 31-year-old Tommy Haas, who kept his fairytale run going by knocking out fourth seed Novak Djokovic.

The 24th seed, who had never been past the fourth round in 10 previous trips to Wimbledon, secured a 7-5 7-6 (8-6) 4-6 6-3 victory over his 22-year-old opponent to become the fourth German to reach the semi-finals in the open era.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Haas, who also beat Djokovic to win the warm-up event in Halle.

“There no words for it. I’m playing my best tennis and to be in the semi here really is amazing for me.”

Andy Roddick booked a semi-final showdown with Murray as he won a five-set epic against Australian Lleyton Hewitt.

Sixth-seed Roddick needed three hours, 50 minutes to see off Hewitt, recording a 6-3 6-7 (10/12) 7-6 (7/1) 4-6 6-4 triumph on Court One.

“I’m super relieved just coming off the court and really really happy,” Roddick said afterwards.

“I hadn’t really been in the grand slam picture much the last two years and now it’s my second semi-final of the year so far so I’m thrilled right now.”

Roddick also spoke of his admiration for Hewitt and the fight he put up throughout the clash, which was their 12th on the ATP Tour.

He said: “I think Lleyton might have hurt himself a little bit in that fourth set and it’s testament to the type of player he is to have kept going and to have made it such a fight.

“There’s a lot of respect there. We used to get into it a little bit when we were younger but I think we’ve earned each other’s respect and now we’re just a couple of old married dudes. Maybe we’ve grown up a little bit.”

Today, in the women’s semi-finals, holder Venus Williams will face world number one Dinara Safina.

Her sister Serena will face another Russian player, Elena Dementieva.

Venus said last night: “I would love it to be an all-Williams final and so would Serena.

“That would be great."

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