Sun, Oct 08, 2006 - Page 22 News List

Federer defeats Becker to set up clash with Henman

HARD-COURT HERO The Swiss master swept aside his German opponent with little fuss to make the final and continue his fine form for the season on hard courts


Loser Benjamin Becker, right, of Germany congratulates Roger Federer of Switzerland after their semi-final match in the Japan Open in Tokyo yesterday.


World No. 1 Roger Federer continued his excellent run on hard courts to beat Benjamin Becker of Germany yesterday for a place in the final at the Japan Open.

Federer faces 10th seed Tim Henman in today's final after the former British No. 1 beat South Korea's Lee Hyung-taik 6-4, 7-6 in the other semi-final.

The 25-year-old Swiss, who set an Open era record of a 56-match hard court winning streak earlier this year, pulled off a service break once in each set to score a convincing 6-3, 6-4 victory in just one hour.

Federer, who had a tough three-set match against local hope Takao Suzuki in the quarter-finals on Friday, got off to a flying start by converting the first chance to break in the second game.

Becker got a break point at 30-40 in the fifth game by charging to the net and forcing Federer to misfire a backhand, but failed to capitalize.

After breaking Becker in the third game of the second set, Federer went on to finish off the struggling German.

Federer hit a total of nine aces against Becker's four. He improved his winning record on hard courts this season to 48-2.

Federer has made 13 finals out of 14 tournaments this season, winning eight of them including victories at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

Henman was helped by a controversial over-rule from the umpire while facing break point at 4-4 in the opening set against ninth seed Lee.

The second set went with serve but Henman's greater experience told in the tiebreak which the Briton took 7-5 to reach his first final since 2004.

In the women's singles semi-finals, Aiko Nakamura kept local hopes alive by beating Chan Yung-jan of Taiwan 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 6-4 to make her first career appearance in a final on the tour.

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