Roger Federer sprinkled his magic all over Centre Court on Friday, beating resurgent German Tommy Haas 7-6, 7-5, 6-3 to reach his seventh men’s singles final at Wimbledon, a feat not achieved since the abolition of the Challenge Round in 1922.
Federer’s virtuoso performance, watched by the lucky 15,000 with Centre Court tickets, was supposed to the curtain-raiser for the thousands massing in front of the huge screen on the grassy expanse known as Henman Hill for the Murray blockbuster later.
With Federer’s game back to its flamboyant best, he would have been supremely confident whoever stood across the net today, but he will sleep well knowing only Roddick, who he has an 18-2 career record against, now stands in the way of a record 15th grand slam title.
Federer unleashed every shot in his armory against a gallant Haas, ending a two-hour exhibition with a slam-dunk smash reminiscent of Pete Sampras in his prime, the American he currently shares the Grand Slam titles record with.
The only time Federer looked remotely flustered was in the fourth game of the third set when, after a ferocious exchange of groundstrokes, Haas landed a backhand on a rough patch of the baseline and it leapt like a kicking horse off Federer’s frame.
If the German could have hit that uneven spot 100 times he may have stood a chance, but that would require a touch of genius and that was all on the other side of the net.
In boy’s doubles on Friday, Taiwan’s last players were knocked out as Hsieh Cheng-peng and Huang Liang-chi lost to German Alexandros-Ferd Georgoudas and Belarusian Andrei Vasilevski 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).