A routine 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 fourth round win over Spain's Tommy Robredo notched up Roger Federer's 38th successive victory at the US Open. In reaching the last eight stage at the Flushing Meadows, the Swiss world No 1 stays on course to reach the semi-finals of a 22nd straight grand slam. The last time he failed to make it to the last four in a major was the French Open in 2004.
If consistency is the measure of champions, Federer is the ultimate exponent of the art. "It's just about having fun out there, playing a good match, playing good tennis, enjoying the moment, playing in packed stadiums," said Federer after downing Robredo. "It's something not many people get an opportunity to do. I think everybody would love to be in my shoes." In them, yes. Facing them, most definitely not. Next up for Federer is the Swedish 12th seed Robin Soderling, who secured his passage against Russia's Nikolay Davydenko. The eighth seed retired at the end of the third set of their fourth round match after being 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 down.
After defeating Soderling to seal an elusive French Open title at Roland Garros last May, and en route to recapturing his Wimbledon crown a month later, Federer has fond memories of his opponent. Those positive vibes will be strengthened by an undefeated 11-0 career record against the man blocking his route to the semis and a possible sixth consecutive Flushing Meadows title. "He's got a big game and we had the final of the French - one of the most important matches of my career - so it's nice to play him again," Federer said ahead of tonight's clash. "I'm trying to defend the title here, not just to reach another semi-final, so my streak stays alive.
"I hope I can get there again. For this, I need to go through Soderling. I hope I can do it. It would be great." Whether Soderling will be strong enough to halt Federer's march - or succumb to a miserable hat-trick of 2009 gran slam exits to him - remains to be seen. Confidence, however, will not be the Swede's downfall. "I have improved my game in every aspect and I just need to do it in majors," said Soderling. "I have been beating good players and that has boosted my confidence. I think I have a chance to do well on hard courts."
John Isner, whose confidence was on a high after ousting his fifth-seeded American compatriot Andy Roddick could not sustain his run though. His attempts to breach the defence of Spain's Fernando Verdasco failed miserably. Isner, 24, started on a winning note but lost to the 10th seed 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. His defeat quelled the last hope for the locals as for the first time in the open era, there will not be any American in the quarter-finals in their home event. firstname.lastname@example.org