x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Federer reaches 18th career final

Roger Federer brushes aside Andy Roddick 6-2 7-5 7-5 in the Australian Open to reach his 18th grand slam final.

Roger Federer is into his 18th grand slam final after beating the American Andy Roddick in Melbourne.
Roger Federer is into his 18th grand slam final after beating the American Andy Roddick in Melbourne.

The weather gods seemed to be in favour of Roger Federer equalling Pete Sampras's record of 14 grand slam titles. Andy Roddick may not exactly be Rafael Nadal, but he is improving, and with Melbourne Park witnessing a once-in-a-century heatwave, things could still go wrong for Federer. The Swiss player looked in ominous form as he reached his 18th grand slam final at the Australian Open. As the temperatures dropped from 112F to 91F, the world No 2 proved too good for the American, taking just 2hrs 17mins to win 6-2, 7-5, 7-5 and book a place in the final against Nadal or Fernando Verdasco. Roddick had only beaten Federer in two of their previous 17 meetings - the most recent success coming in Miami last year. But the improved seventh seed never looked like repeating that under an open roof as the extreme heat policy procedures were called off.

Federer has now only one less final appearance than Ivan Lendl but the former top-ranked player for a record 277 weeks was not sure of the greatest status that awaits him on Sunday. "We'll probably never quite know who was the greatest of all time in tennis," Federer said. "Of course, if somebody goes off and wins 35 grand slams then you made your point as a player." Federer voiced his admiration for the Australian Rod Laver, who won two calendar grand slams seven years apart in 1962 and 1969 because he turned professional while the sport was still amateur. "I'm very well aware of the problems the old generation of Laver and Ken Rosewall and all those players faced," said Federer.

"That's why I always said I'm one of the players who's most thankful to them of what they've done for us. Look where prize money is today and the great sites we have. "That's all thanks to them for not playing for a lot of money and missing out on 20 grand slams." Federer also kept calm as a hustling Roddick tried everything from drop shots to bullet-like serves to find a way through the Federer armoury. And although there were times when the three-time Australian Open champion could only stand and watch the aces go by or send a drop shot return into the net, he largely had an answer for everything the American could send his way. Federer punched a few aces down himself - double the number of Roddick, with 16 - and some of his passing shots were sublime. His choice of shot and execution far exceeded that of the American, who hit 38 winners compared to 51 by Federer. The second seed broke Roddick in the third and fifth games of the first set. The second had few break point chances and just when it appeared heading for a tie-break, Federer broke Roddick in the 11th game. The third set was an exact repeat of the previous set with Roddick conceding his serve and Federer sealed the match with a down the line winner in the 12th game. * With agencies