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Federer proves unrivaled

The world No.1 tops No.2 to win his 35th straight match on grass.

By wire services
Published July 2, 2005


WIMBLEDON, England - The best view of Roger Federer's latest masterful performance at Wimbledon belonged to Lleyton Hewitt, and even he felt compelled to call out, "Too good, mate!" when one perfectly placed forehand flew past.

It certainly sounded like an attractive semifinal: Federer vs. Hewitt, No.1 in the rankings vs. No.2, Wimbledon champions both. Instead, it was just another showcase for all of Federer's talents.

Taking charge almost from the start, Federer subdued the normally resilient Hewitt 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) Friday to move within one victory of joining Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg as the only men to take three consecutive Wimbledon titles since 1936.

"This performance is definitely good enough to win Wimbledon," Federer said. "I sort of still can't believe that I did it, so smooth in straight sets."

He hit stretch volleys, sent big serves at Hewitt's body or spun them nearly to the stands for aces, mixed flat backhands with confounding slices, and, as always, used his forehand to put quick ends to rallies.

Federer finished with 46 winners to Hewitt's 31 and faced only one break point.

"I've got no doubt that I feel like I'm the second-best player going around right at the moment," said Hewitt, who won Wimbledon in 2002 and the U.S. Open in 2001 but has been beaten at four of his past six majors by Federer. "It's just that the best player going around is pretty bloody good."

How's that for an understatement? Federer has won 35 matches in a row on grass, second only to Borg's 41 from 1976-81. And now Federer will try to extend his streak of 20 straight victories in tournament finals, a tour record.

His next opponent will be Andy Roddick or Thomas Johansson, and they'll have the added disadvantage of less rest ahead of Sunday's final. Their semifinal was stopped because of rain Friday with Roddick ahead 6-5 and Johansson about to serve.

Roddick, the runnerup to Federer last year, and Johansson will resume their match today on Centre Court.

DOUBLES: Stephen Huss of Australia and Wesley Moodie of South Africa, who both went to college in the United States, were the first qualifiers to reach the men's final. They'll play the Bryan twins, Bob and Mike, today for the title.

JUNIORS: Both top-ranked juniors were eliminated in the semifinals. American Donald Young, 15, lost to France's Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), while Belarus' Viktoria Azarenka fell to Austria's Tamira Paszek 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.