Roger Federer sweeps aside Juan Martin Del Potro to reach Australian Open semi-finals


Roger Federer moved into his ninth successive Australian Open semi-final today - and a possible meeting with Rafael Nadal - after a straight-set demolition of Juan Martin Del Potro.

The Swiss great, a four-time champion in Melbourne, looked close to his very best as he brushed Del Potro aside 6-4 6-3 6-2 in his 1000th tour-level match

He will meet old foe Nadal next if the Spaniard can overcome Tomas Berdych later today.

Federer's place in the last four was never in doubt after a masterclass which will not have gone unnoticed by his title rivals.

He came out of the blocks quickly, racing into a 3-0 lead and it took a titanic effort from Del Potro to battle back and level it at 4-4.

But serving at 4-5, Del Potro faltered as two wonderful forehand winners from Federer handed him two set points and he clinched it on the first as the Argentinian double-faulted under the pressure.

A crushing backhand gave Federer a 3-1 advantage in the second set although he had to hold off some stiff Del Potro resistance at 5-3 - his 6ft 6in opponent seeing four break points come and go.

It turned out to be the key game in the match as, from two sets down, a Del Potro comeback never looked likely.

The 2009 US Open champion was broken again in the opening game of the third and then again for 5-2 as Federer cruised home.

"I am happy, I thought it was a great match," he said. "It was tough with the sun and the shade creeping across the court but I thought it was a really high quality match.

"Juan Martin is a great player and I knew how hard he could hit the ball so I tried to manoeuvre him round a little bit."