Federer eases past Wawrinka into semi-finals

In modern tennis terms he is approaching veteran status but there is no sign that Roger Federer has any intention of slowing down.

At 29 years and five months he is the oldest man left in the men’s draw here at the Australian Open and he will be the oldest player to win a Grand Slam title for eight years if he successfully defends his crown in Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.

The latest player to learn that Federer has no plans to reach for his pipe and slippers quite yet was his friend and fellow Swiss, Stanislas Wawrinka, who had not dropped a set in his first four rounds here and was unbeaten this year. The world No 19 went into their quarter-final meeting here today with one win over the world No 2 under his belt – even if it had been achieved while Federer was on his honeymoon in Monte-Carlo two years ago – but from the moment he dropped serve in his opening game a repeat never looked on the cards.

Federer needed only an hour and 47 minutes to beat his Davis Cup colleague 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 in his 27th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final, which equalled the record set by Jimmy Connors. Wawrinka played well below his best and Federer’s post-match verdict - “The scoreline suggests maybe it was easier than it looked like - I thought it was a pretty tough match” – sounded like an attempt to cover up for his friend’s disappointing display. In the semi-finals Federer will meet the winner of today’s later match between Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych.

Putting 77 per cent of his first serves in court, Federer gave Wawrinka only one sniff of a break, midway through the second set. The defending champion promptly won three points in a row to take the game and Wawrinka never threatened again. Federer had seven break points of his own and took five of them.

Early in the third set a frustrated Wawrinka was given a code violation after smashing his racket to the floor, shattering the frame. Even his backhand, which is usually his biggest weapon, let him down. The last two points summed up his day as he missed two successive cross-court backhands.

It was the first Grand Slam quarter-final contested by two Swiss men. Federer and Wawrinka have played doubles for their country in the Davis Cup and won Olympic gold together in Beijing three years ago, after which they performed one of the more bizarre sporting celebrations. As Wawrinka lay on the floor, Federer pretended to warm his hands as if over a log fire, indicating how hot his partner’s form had been.

Wawrinka has enjoyed one of the best periods of his career over the last six months. He reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at last year’s US Open, where he knocked out Andy Murray, and went into today’s contest on a nine-match winning streak, having won the tournament in Chennai on his way to Australia.

Nevertheless, anything Wawrinka can do his more celebrated fellow countryman can do better. Federer is now unbeaten in his last 15 matches, having followed up his victory at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London in November by winning his first tournament of the year in Doha. The last time he won the Qatar Open, in 2006, Federer went on to life the title here.

“I think it was a good match for me,” Federer said after today’s win. “I was able to serve and return really well. Last time I played him he was really able to get the free points he was also getting in his matches [here] against Monfils and against Roddick. I expected him to serve even bigger today because the ball travels faster through the air. For some reason I was able to return well against him. On my own service games I was really good too. I think that really set the tone for a good match for me.”

Federer acknowledged that the match would have been a big challenge for Wawrinka. “I've been in so many quarter-finals, in this situation so many times before, that I have the experience and I have the game to be tricky for him,” he said. “Once the first set goes quickly then he's a bit under pressure there. He actually played a good second set. He had the first chance to make the break. Then he doesn't make it. The next thing you know, I get it. It's two sets to love. It wasn't an easy match for him.”

Wawrinka's verdict was succinct: "He was just playing too good."

PROMOTED VIDEO
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.

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried