Fri, Jul 02, 2004 - Page 24 News List

Federer advances; Henman upset

AP , WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

Defending champion Serena Williams returns to Jennifer Capriati during their quarterfinal match on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, Wednesday. Williams won 6-1, 6-1.

PHOTO: AP

Defending champion Roger Federer overcame 2002 winner Lleyton Hewitt in four sets Wednesday to reach the Wimbledon semifinals, edging closer to a possible final against Andy Roddick.

Federer lost his serve and dropped a set for the first time this tournament, but had 19 aces and 50 winners to prevail 6-1, 6-7 (1), 6-0, 6-4 in a high-quality Centre Court match that ended close to dusk. It was Federer's 22nd consecutive win on grass.

The 2 hour, 19-minute match ended with a double-fault by Hewitt.

Roddick, who hasn't lost a set in five matches, served 18 aces and outslugged Sjeng Schalken 7-6 (4), 7-6 (9), 6-3 -- closing out the match with a leaping overhead.

The second-seeded Roddick advances to meet Croatia's 20-year-old Mario Ancic, who upset fifth-seeded Tim Henman 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2. Roddick is 1-0 against Ancic, winning in three sets on grass at Queen's Club last month.

Federer will face Sebastian Grosjean, who swept Florian Mayer 7-5, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the semis for the second straight year.

In women's play, two-time defending champion Serena Williams beat a listless Jennifer Capriati 6-1, 6-1 in 45 minutes in a Centre Court match that never lived up to expectations. Williams goes next against Amelie Mauresmo, who beat Paola Suarez 6-0, 5-7, 6-1 to make her second Wimbledon semifinal.

The Federer-Hewitt match, interrupted twice by rain for about an hour each time, featured a contrast between the all-court Swiss player with a big serve and the hustling Australian baseliner with a fantastic return.

"It was a battle where I really had to run a lot," Federer said. "The first and third sets don't show how hard the battle was."

The top-seeded Federer appeared on his way to an easy win, breaking twice in the 23-minute first set and serving it out with three aces.

"He came out right on fire, right from the start," Hewitt said.

But Hewitt lifted his game in the second set and dominated the tiebreaker, capitalizing on a terrible miss by Federer on a forehand sitter on the second point. Hewitt closed the tiebreaker with a second-serve winner, handing Federer his first set loss of these championships.

Federer responded by winning seven straight games to go up 2-sets-to-1 and 1-0 in the fourth. Hewitt took an injury timeout after the third set, receiving treatment on his right thigh, but never seemed troubled on the court.

After going 0-8 on break points, Hewitt broke for 4-3, shouting, "C'mon!" and doing a big fist pump. It was the first time Federer had been broken in 70 service games this tournament and in 105 games going back to last year's quarterfinals.

Unshaken, Federer broke back in the next game. Hewitt held two more break points in the following game, but Federer saved the first with an ace and the second with a service winner and held for 5-4. He broke Hewitt for the seventh time to end the match.

"He really stepped it up," Hewitt said. "He's the best player in the world at the moment."

Roddick's match against Schalken featured a compelling 20-point second-set tiebreaker in which he saved three set points, ripped forehand winners, hit a tournament-best 146mph serve and connected on big second serves.

"It was a dogfight," Roddick said. "He's doesn't look spectacular, but he's a great player."

Roddick, who was never broken, saved three break points in the first game of the third set. After a second rain delay at 1-1, he got the only service break of the match with a forehand pass to go up 4-2. He served out the match at love, starting with his 18th ace and ending with a soaring smash reminiscent of Pete Sampras during his run of seven Wimbledon titles.

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