Federer breezes through against Soderling

On a wind-swept day at the US Open that had everyone complaining about the conditions, Roger Federer simply embraced them. Choosing placement over power on his serve and using a handful of sublimely spinning drop shots to take advantage of gusty winds, Federer moved one win away from his seventh straight final at Flushing Meadows with a 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 victory over Robin Soderling late on Wednesday.

Could Federer, a five-time champion at America's tennis major, actually enjoy playing when the wind affects every toss, every groundstroke, and even makes it hard to see? "I do by now, because I see it as a challenge and I see it as an opportunity to play differently," he said. "It's not easy. It's cold. Everywhere it's blowing. You feel like it's blowing through your ears and into your eyes."

Everyone felt that way, including Vera Zvonareva and Caroline Wozniacki, who each won their matches to advance to the women's semi-finals. Federer's next opponent will be Novak Djokovic, who beat Gaël Monfils 7-6, 6-1, 6-2 in another wind-blown match.

The other men's semi-final was set to be decided late last night when top-seeded Rafael Nadal was due to play Spanish compatriot Fernando Verdasco, and Mikhail Youzhny was to face Stanislas Wawrinka. More wind was forecast, though maybe not as strong as it was on Wednesday, the fifth straight day in which the massive American flag above Arthur Ashe Stadium was whipped stiff by the gusts.

"The conditions were maybe as difficult as we've seen so far in the tournament," Djokovic said after his quarter-final. "We didn't have wind in only one direction. We had it all over."

Federer handled it best, though even he had a few problems. Playing the man who beat him in the quarter-finals of the French Open, breaking his record streak of 23 straight Grand Slam semi-final appearances, one of Federer's few lapses came midway through the third set, when he lost serve to fall behind 5-3. Faced with dropping his first set of the tournament, he opened up Soderling's service game by hitting one of his drop volleys to get ahead. Then, he took something off his groundstrokes to mix things up – a fine strategy on a night when everyone had to adjust to the wind. All that mixing and matching paid off when Soderling dumped two forehands into the net to close out the game.

"The margin is small," Soderling said. "There's a couple of points here or there. He played well at the end."

By the time Federer had made it 6-5, even the fans were cheering lustily for him. He didn't disappoint, closing the match with a pair of modestly paced but well-placed aces.

Britain's Laura Robson crashed out of the girls' singles yesterday in the third round with a straight-sets defeat to American qualifier Robin Anderson. Robson, a former junior Wimbledon champion and the eighth seed here, had not lost a set in her previous two matches but was beaten 6-3, 6-2 on Court 13. The 16-year-old, who missed out on the main draw after losing in the final round of qualifying, has yet to decide whether this will be her last junior competition.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Arts and Entertainment
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style