Tue, Jun 29, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Federer, Roddick on course for titanic Wimbledon final

SUPER SUNDAY The two top men's singles seeds, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick, as well as top women's seed Serena Williams, went through to round 4 of the tourney

AFP , LONDON

Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a forehand to Thomas Johansson of Sweden during the 118th Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London on Sunday.

PHOTO: AFP

The third Sunday action in Wimbledon history saw the two top men's seeds, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick, stay firmly on course for what would be a titanic final in one week's time.

Federer was imperious in dismissing Sweden's Thomas Johansson in straight sets on the Centre Court while Roddick outgunned Taylor Dent on No.1 Court in a battle of the American heavyweights.

Main threats to the big two, Tim Henman and Mark Philippoussis, also made it into the last 16, and they will go up against each other on Monday.

In the women's tournament, top seed and title-holder Serena Williams coasted past Spain's Magui Serna and there were comfortable wins also for her main challenger Amelie Mauresmo of France and for American Jennifer Capriati.

Top seed and defending champion Federer set up a last 16 meeting with Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic when he outclassed Johansson in a third round tie.

Karlovic, who ousted defending champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia in the first round last year, defeated Spain's Feliciano Lopez in four service-dominated sets.

A single break in each of the first two sets and two in the third were enough for Federer to win his 20th consecutive match on grass.

Opening activities on what was only the third time in Wimbledon history that the middle Sunday had been used for play, Federer never looked in any danger and in three rounds he has lost just 19 games and has yet to be broken on serve.

"I thought today was a tough match and a test. The other two games were too easy with washouts in the third sets, but this was really tough and I had to focus hard and not be broken," Federer said.

"I am feeling very good, better than last year because I know now I can win this tournament."

Roddick, losing semifinalist here last year to Federer and the No. 2 seed this time, maintained his supremacy over US contemporary Dent with a straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/1) win in a tie dominated by big serves.

The American let a match point slip away at 6-5 up in the fourth, but he dominated the decisive tie-break 7-1 ending it with another big serve.

Henman blew hot and cold against old rival Hicham Arazi of Morocco, going a break down in all four sets before winning 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

It was a performance that had a youthful and noisy Sunday afternoon crowd at times despairing and at times jubilant.

And it will have to be a much more consistent Henman who shows up on Monday if he is to stun "The Scud."

"It was difficult out there. It was very swirly and the quality of the tennis was not always great, but you just have to find a way through it," he said.

"I need to play a bit better [against Philippoussis] but I still fancy my chances."

A reborn Philippoussis came through against Chile's Fernando Gonzalez winning 6-4, 6-1, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4.

There were third round wins also for German youngster Florian Mayer against South African veteran Wayne Ferriera and for 2002 semifinalist Xavier Malisse of Belgium in straight sets over Karol Beck of Slovakia.

Vincent Spadea ousted Rainer Schuettler of Germany 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 whilst rising Croatian Mario Ancic defeated 25th seed Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia 7-5, 6-3, 7-5.

Serena Williams remained on course to become the first women to win three titles in a row since Steffi Graf (1991 to 1993) with a lop-sided 6-4, 6-0 win over the diminutive Serna.

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