U.S. Open: Federer in 18th straight major semifinal
NEW YORK (AP) ó As the break points and the set points slipped away, as his shouts of self-admonishment grew louder, it was hard to imagine Roger Federer was having this tough a time in his U.S. Open quarterfinal against a man ranked 130th.
A man who arrived at Flushing Meadows with a 3-4 tour record this year.
A man who was kicked out of his hotel because it didn’t occur to him to book a room long enough to stay past the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.
Fans used to watch Federer hoping to be awed by his brilliance. Now they wonder: Is he going to hang on? For the most part, even during this poor-by-his-standards season, he does get by. Federer did just that Thursday, shaking off missed opportunities to beat qualifier Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 7-6 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (5) and extend his own record by reaching the semifinals at an 18th consecutive Grand Slam tournament.
“He created a monster, like he said a couple years ago. He won everything. And now everybody expects him to win everything, and, I mean, he’s also just human,” Muller said. “Even today … you could still see why he was No. 1 ó and still No. 2 now. Every time the score was tied, he came up with a better shot.”
It was Federer’s 32nd straight victory at the U.S. Open, where he has won the past four championships. The only man to have won more matches or titles in a row was Bill Tilden in the 1920s.
Federer spoke proudly of his run of major semifinals; no other man ever topped 10.
“A huge streak,” he said. “I hope this time around I can take it a step further than I did in Paris or Wimbledon.”
See? Even he focuses on his missteps, making reference there to his losses to Rafael Nadal in the past two finals.
Bidding for a 13th major title, which would move him one shy of Pete Sampras’ record, Federer will meet No. 3 Novak Djokovic or No. 8 Andy Roddick in the semifinals. Djokovic and Roddick were to play Thursday night.
“It’s going to be a tough match either way,” Federer said.
The other men’s semifinal is No. 1 Nadal vs. No. 6 Andy Murray.
In the women’s semifinals Friday, two-time champion Serena Williams faces Dinara Safina, and Jelena Jankovic meets Elena Dementieva.
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