Federer beats del Potro in his 1000th match

Roger Federer, playing his 1000th tour-level match, reached his 30th Grand Slam championship semi-final on Tuesday.

The third-seeded Swiss defeated No. 11 seed Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 at the Australian Open to advance to the last four at Melbourne Park for the ninth straight year. He improves to an 814-186 lifetime match record.

"I wish it was 1000 wins, but I'm happy with 1000 matches in total, too. It's nice to win this one. I do not remember my 500, and that was the [2005] US Open final against [Andre] Agassi. It's a lot of matches and a lot tennis. Either I have been around for a long time or I'm extremely fit."

Federer took a 3-0 lead in nine minutes, before del Potro fought back. The Argentinean fell to 15/40 at 4-5 and hit a double fault to conclude the 43-minute opener. Former World No. 4 del Potro came under pressure again in the fourth game of the second set, when he saved one break point, but he hit a backhand wide on Federer's second opportunity to gift the Swiss a 3-1 lead.

At 5-3, Federer saved four break points to clinch the set and went onto take a 2-0 lead in the third set. Del Potro hit a forehand into the net, at 30/40, 2-4, to give Federer the initiative. Minutes later he became the first man aged 30 or over to reach the Australian Open semi-finals since Andre Agassi in 2004 (33 years, 278 days).

"I really knew how important that game [at 5-3 in the second set] was for me," said Federer. "But I was able to come through and it was big."

"I'm moving well. I'm serving well. I'm hitting the ball clean. Today, I thought it was a very hot day with fast conditions. From now on basically it's only night sessions, so it's going to change now. It's going to be more athletic and tougher. I'm ready for that."

Federer hit 38 winners and hit five aces in the pair's 10th meeting (Federer 8-2), which lasted just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena. The 23-year-old del Potro, who also lost to Federer in the 2009 quarter-finals, committed 27 unforced errors and converted one of his six break point opportunities.

Federer is bidding to become the second man in tournament history to win five Australian Open singles titles. Roy Emerson lifted his sixth trophy in 1967. Federer tasted silverware in 2004 (d. Safin), 2006 (d. Baghdatis), 2007 (d. Gonzalez) and 2010 (d. Murray).

He will next play either second seed and 2009 champion Rafael Nadal, his great rival from Spain, or No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.

Date: 24.01.2012, Source: ATP


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