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Roger astonished by his own performance

05.07.2006 | Tennis

With an almost incredible performace Roger avenged a loss to Mario Ancic on the same Centre Court four years ago, winning 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to reach his ninth consecutive Grand Slam semifinal.


“It was difficult, knowing he was the last guy to beat me here,” Roger said. “I remember I was very sad after that match.”


“I thought I played a terrific match,” Roger commented further. “If I keep up this type of play, it’ll be pretty good.”


Only two rain delays - the first since the opening day of the tournament - slowed Roger's progress. He has yet to lose a set through five rounds, and his opponent Friday will be the winner of the quarterfinal between No. 14-seeded Radek Stepanek and unseeded Jonas Bjorkman.


Roger's shots consistently landed inches from a line, and he countered Ancic’s serve-and-volley tactics by being aggressive himself. He came to the net behind one return while Ancic also moved forward, the result being a rare point-blank exchange of volleys that Roger won.


Ancic held his own in baseline rallies, winning 18- and 21-shot exchanges in the first set. But Roger coped well with the 6-foot-5 Ancic’s big serve, hitting some returns nearly as hard, with one forehand clocked at 104 mph.


“I thought sometimes that I did some unbelievable shots,” Ancic said. “I did exactly what I had to, and I was getting passed or (he was) getting some winners from nowhere. He played unbelievable.


“He’s just Roger. What can you say?”


Roger had 35 winners and 17 unforced errors, and he survived one shaky moment. Serving at 4-3 in the first set, he committed three uncharacteristically sloppy errors, including a double-fault that left him facing a break point for only the seventh time in the tournament.


He escaped and held with a service winner, and in the opening game of the second set, he literally brought Ancic to his knees. The Croat lunged in vain at the net to intercept a passing shot. Two points later, Roger passed Ancic again to break for 1-0.

Federer won 30 of 34 service points during one stretch, including 14 in a row. He did lose serve for the second time in the tournament, but the break came only after he took a 3-0 lead in the final set. He erased another break point with a sharply angled forehand winner and held for 5-3, then closed the victory with his seventh ace.


“I definitely had a period where it was so good, it was just incredible,” Roger said. “You get the feeling that you’re absolutely in control.”

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