Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Federer Masters Dr. Ivo, Advances to 21st Straight Slam Semi

Not even shades could make the future look bright for Ivo Karlovic today.

Roger Federer notched a spot in his record 21st consecutive Grand-Slam semi-final by defeating the 6'10" Karlovic in straight sets on Centre Court, 6-3, 7-5, 7-6 (3).

Karlovic, who started the match with a streak of 78 consecutive service games without being broken, could only manage one hold against Federer before the streak was snapped.

Ten minutes into the match, Federer slapped a backhand winner past the flat-footed Croatian to gain his first break point. On the ensuing serve he slapped a forehand past Karlovic and the rest was history.

Federer's streak of 21 consecutive grand-slam semi-finals is a true testament not only to Federer's greatness, but also his consistency. Ivan Lendl and Rod Laver can attest to this. Each managed ten consecutive grand-slam semi-finals - brilliant no doubt, but paltry in comparison to what Federer has done.

Facing a man that kept his last four opponents at bay by raining a fusillade of aces on them, Federer was cool and calculated from the onset of this match. His only two break point opportunities yielded exactly what the Swiss Maestro needed - when he got his chances he proceeded to make his deadliest returns of the match, proving again that there is no one in tennis better at summoning brilliance when it matters most.

After breaking karlovic in the eleventh game of the second set, Federer consolidated easily to take the set and a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.

Remarkably, in ten matches against the giant Croatian, Federer has only suffered one service break. He did not even face a break point today, and he only lost 11 of the 85 points in which he served.

Karlovic, not achieving the results he had hoped for in his first ever appearance in a grand-slam quarterfinal, decided to remove the shades for the third set.

It didn't make much of a difference. Karlovic's final display of ruthless power serving (11 aces in the set and 2 more in the tiebreak) bought him a chance in a tiebreaker, but those chances were quickly squandered.

A few untimely errors later Karlovic used his tournament leading 160th ace of the tournament to fight off the first of four Federer match points.

It would only deny the inevitable. Such is the fate of mere mortals who try to usurp Federer's grass court magesty (unless your name is Rafa).

Federer will face Tommy Haas in the semi-finals on Friday, for a chance to play in his 7th consecutive Wimbledon final.


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