Australian Open - Federer sets up Murray final

Reuters - Fri, 29 Jan 10:19:00 2010

Roger Federer provided a masterful demonstration of his incredible talent and hunger to win to overwhelm Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2 6-3 6-2 and join Andy Murray in the final of the Australian Open.

Roger Federer of Switzerland waves after winning his semi-final match against France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Australian Open - 0

The world number one was at his brilliant best as he outclassed his French opponent to wrap up a lop-sided victory in under an hour and a half at Melbourne Park.

Murray has been the form player over the past fortnight but Federer's imperious display will give the Scotsman a couple of sleepless nights before Sunday's final.

"I know he'd like to win the first for British tennis in... what is it ... like 150,000 years?" Federer joked.

"The poor guy has to go through those moments over and over again. He's done tremendously.

"We match up well. I'm looking forward to the final. First of all, he's a good player.

"But, no, without taking anything away from him, I think a few times he played me I wasn't at my very, very best. That's why I don't really care too much about how the head to head stands. Every match is played differently.

"Look, he's in his second Grand Slam final now. I think the first one's always a bit tougher than the second. But now that he didn't win the first one, I think doesn't help for the second one around.

"Plus he's playing me, who's won many grand slams prior to that, been able to win here three times so I know what it takes and how to do it, which is definitely an advantage.

"I don't feel like the pressure's really on me having to do it again, because I did it before. I think he really needs it more than I do, you know.

"But we'll see how he's gonna handle it. It's not going to be easy for him, that's for sure."

Federer has already won the Australian Open three times, in 2004, 2006 and 2007, and is now through to his fifth final after losing an epic five-set clash with Rafael Nadal last year.

The Swiss is also through to his 22nd Grand Slam final, more than any other man in history, and his eighth in a row.

A victory over Murray will provide the 28-year-old with his 16th Grand Slam, extending yet another record he holds.

"I thought (Tsonga) did really well in those five-set matches and I expected him to come out here and be really athletic the way we know him," a relaxed Federer said.

"Maybe he was mentally more fatigued than physically. I'm happy. I played solid. I didn't play exceptional. I did enough and I'm through. It's nice.

"No wasted energy that's for sure ... I'm very surprised at how the match went. I expected differently.

"Perhaps today was one of those days when he needed that first set. When I got it maybe his head went down."

Federer, growing in confidence with every match after a slow start to the championship, showed no mercy against a weary Tsonga, who had won his two previous matches in five sets.

"It was tough to play against him today," Tsonga said. "He took the ball earlier than me and he was just better than me. He was really good, and that's it."

Federer shows no sign of slowing down despite his haul of major trophies.

He broke Tsonga's erratic serve once to win the opening set then twice more in each of the next two while comfortably holding each of his service games.

Tsonga, who reached the Australian Open final two years ago but has yet to win a Grand Slam, did not get a single break point on the Swiss master's serve.

"I'm very happy. You've always got to deal with how your opponent plays. Sometimes he plays like you want, sometimes not," Federer said.

"It's nice going through like this but I already know the next match won't be this way."

Australian Open: Watch the finals LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and on Eurosport Player, where you can watch the matches on demand.

Reuters

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