Roger Federer gave a tennis masterclass during his Brisbane International quarter-final yesterday, taking less than an hour to demolish Australian Marinko Matosevic for the loss of just two games.
The top-seeded Federer booked a semi-final against France’s Jeremy Chardy with his imperious 57-minute 6-1, 6-1 win over an outclassed Matosevic.
Eighth seed Chardy had earlier downed another Australian, wild card Sam Groth, 7-5, 6-4.
The second semi-final is to be between second seed Kei Nishikori of Japan and crowd favorite Lleyton Hewitt.
Nishikori outlasted big-serving Croat Marin Cilic 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, while Hewitt was too good for Romanian qualifier Marius Copil, beating him 6-4, 6-2.
However, all eyes were on Federer, who is playing in Brisbane for the first time in his career.
The unheralded Matosevic actually started the better of the two, quickly opening up three break points on Federer’s opening serve.
However, the Swiss great saved all three and raced away to a 5-0 lead before the Australian finally held serve to get on the scoreboard.
Matosevic won his opening serve of the second set, but that was as good as it was to get, as Federer eased away against an increasingly demoralized opponent.
Nishikori and Cilic had to play in the heat of the day, but the Japanese world No. 17 tamed the big-serving Croat in temperatures approaching 37oC, winning 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 in 2 hours, 37 minutes.
In the women’s contest, world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka recovered from a disastrous opening set to beat Jelena Jankovic 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 yesterday and reach the final.
Azarenka was all at sea in the opening set as she was swept aside by the Serb in just 29 minutes.
With her serve misfiring badly, the second-seeded Azarenka looked certain of a quick exit on Pat Rafter Arena, particularly when she went 0-40 down in the first game of the second set.
However, she fought her way back to win that game, and from that point the momentum turned as Azarenka began to find her rhythm and Jankovic started to fade.
After struggling to finish off Swiss player Stefanie Voegele in the quarter-finals on Thursday, wasting nine match points before eventually triumphing, Azarenka again faltered toward the end against Jankovic.
Serving for the match at 5-2, she was broken by Jankovic, who then held serve to make it 5-4.
Despite blowing a match point at 40-30, Azarenka won the next two to reach the final, where she is to play either Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova.