x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Imperious Federer through to final

Roger Federer completed his march into his sixth consecutive Wimbledon final with a straight sets victory over Marat Safin.

Roger Federer is chasing his sixth consecutive Wimbledon title.
Roger Federer is chasing his sixth consecutive Wimbledon title.

Roger Federer completed his march into his sixth consecutive Wimbledon final with a straight sets victory over Marat Safin on Centre Court. Federer left Safin shaking his head in bewilderment as he won 6-3 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 in just one hour and 41 minutes, and reach Sunday's final without dropping a set. Although Safin served up the biggest challenge to Federer's reign so far, the Russian still fell woefully short, hindered further by a series of unforced errors which blew his only chance in the second set tie-break. As Federer sailed on imperiously, Safin was left sinking in frustration and was handed a code violation towards the end of the third set for slamming his racquet onto his chair at the change of ends. Federer had made a lightning start, holding his first two service games to love and breaking Safin on his first service game to effectively wrap up the first set before the match was eight minutes old. Safin warmed to his task in the second set, finally fashioning his first two break point opportunities on the Federer serve at 2-1, both of which the Swiss star swatted away. The Russian was serving out with increasing confidence, avoiding giving Federer any break point chances of his own, and, to the delight of the packed Centre Court crowd, forcing Federer to serve out for a tie-break. But Safin made an awful start, flopping two simple backhands into the net to give Federer the sort of advantage he was not in the habit of relinquishing, and the world number one raced into a 4-0 lead. Safin did rally to pull one mini-break back, but Federer responded by whipping a forehand down the line to fashion four set points, converting his second with an ace to win the breaker 7-3 and move into a two-set lead. The frustration was finally beginning to get to Safin, who took a kick at the ball after flopping another sad backhand into the net on the first point of the third set before Federer went on to hold serve with ease. Safin may have responded with another love service game of his own but the sense was Federer remained in complete control, Safin unleashing a mighty roar as the Swiss man maintained his advantage. A poor backhand into the tramlines brought up a rare break point for Federer which the Russian saved with a big serve, but the feeling was now that Safin was simply prolonging the inevitable. An extraordinary backhand recovery shot by Federer in the fifth game of the third set denied Safin what would normally have been another break point opportunity, and Safin's frustration continued to bubble. He was handed a code violation by umpire Lars Graff for slamming his racquet into his chair at the change of ends after Federer had served out imperiously to move within one game of the match. Typically, Federer upped his game to break Safin and clinch the match after a long baseline rally, whipping a cross-court backhand which left the Russian flailing and the Centre Court crowd once again rising to acclaim his genius. * PA Sport @Email:sports@thenational.ae