NEW YORK (Reuters) - Roger Federer won a measure of revenge and a return to the U.S. Open semi-finals as he beat fifth-seeded Swede Robin Soderling 6-4 6-4 7-5 on Wednesday to book his place in the last four for a seventh successive time.
Federer, showing the all-round brilliance that has won him a record 16 grand slam titles, refused to let gusty winds at Arthur Ashe Stadium slow down his charge as he routed Soderling, who had eliminated him in the quarter-finals at this year’s French Open.
The 29-year-old Swiss, whose string of five consecutive U.S. Open titles was snapped in last year’s final, commanded his serve with power and precision through the adverse conditions to quash Soderling in just under two hours.
Federer demoralized the big-hitting Swede, who was runner-up at the last two French Opens, by firing in 18 aces, while Soderling could only muster two as he went down meekly on a cold, windy New York night.
The Swiss master said figuring out how to deal with conditions was simply part of his job description.
“I’ve practiced my serve my whole career,” said Federer, who put 64 percent of his first serves in play and won 86 percent of them. “If I can’t serve in the wind I’ve got a problem.
“You can wake me up at 2:00 in the morning or 4:00 in the morning I can hit serves. It’s what we do.”
Soderling, who lost his first 12 matches against Federer before beating him at Roland Garros, was full of praise for his opponent.
“He’s a good wind player,” the 26-year-old Soderling said. “He moves really well. He’s always in the right place.”
On Federer’s serving, he said: “He was brushing the lines with his first serves which is not easy.”
Soderling squandered some early chances to get ahead, letting three break points slip away in Federer’s first service game and then another one before the second seed used a deft drop shot to break in the seventh game and served out the opening set.
Federer took the decisive break of the second set in the fifth game.
Soderling came alive in the third set, hitting out more powerfully and hustling around to engage the Swiss in rallies and broke for a 5-3 lead after three Federer errors.
But serving for the set, Soderling’s big forehand let him down when he dumped two forehands into the net to give the break right back.
Federer then ran off the next three games, closing with a bullet ace out wide.
Next up for the second-seeded Federer will be third seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia, who beat France’s Gael Monfils to advance. Federer beat Djokovic in the Flushing Meadows final in 2007 and in the semi-finals the last two years.
“He’s obviously looking for that big breakthrough here in the Open, so it’s going to be a tough one,” Federer added.
Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by John O’Brien
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