Federer keeps US Open semi-final streak alive


New York : Roger Federer charged into a record 18th straight Grand Slam semi-final as he fought to oust feisty qualifier Gilles Muller 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) at the US Open.

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The Swiss top seed, still searching for a first major 2008 title in the last Grand Slam of the season, after the win Thursday kept up his bid for success after winning the last four editions at Flushing Meadows.

Federer will play Saturday for a place in the finals against the winner of the all-star pairing of third seed Novak Djokovic and 2003 winner Andy Roddick, seeded eighth.

Bad weather from Tropical Storm Hanna in the Atlantic could bring bad weather for the weekend, a threat that organizers are closely watching.

“The USTA has several contingency plans in place depending on the time and duration of the inclement weather,” a statement from officials said. “Those plans will be implemented and communicated as the forecast develops throughout the day on Friday.”

Federer, who won his 43rd US Open match against a mere four losses said: “I’m looking forward to the semis. Andy in the States is always exciting.

“It will be a tough match either way, I’m happy to be through. I’m playing great so lets’ see what happens.”

Muller, ranked a distant 130th, is coming off of two-five set matches at the event, but didn’t look like running out of puff against the second seed.

“It was tough today, especially to break against the wind. It was almost impossible.

“He’s a big guy and gets great angles. He does have great variety.”

Federer, holder of 12 major trophies – but none since this event a year ago – took a two-set-to-love lead with only one break in the match, winning four of the last five points.

Federer took the third set to a second tie-break rallying from a 1-4 deficit to advance in his first match point as Muller netted a return after two and a half hours.

Federer is bidding for his 37th hard-court title. He current stands second on the all-time list, 10 behind leader Andre Agassi.

He is playing the Open for the first time since 2001 without holding a trophy on cement coming into the tournament.

Victory marked his 32nd straight win at the event where he last lost to David Nalbandian in the round of 16 in 2003.

“I’m happy to keep the semi-final streak alive,” said Federer. “That’s a huge streak for such a long time.

“I played well this tournament, so I’m really happy to give myself an opportunity again to be in the final four. I hope this time around I can take it a step further than I did in Paris or Wimbledon.”

Muller’s best previous result was a Grand Slam third round, at 2005 Wimbledon when he upset Rafael Nadal in the second round. The outsider was worn down by 0-2 comebacks in New York against Tommy Haas and Nicolas Almagro.

Federer, who lost the French Open and Wimbledon finals to Nadal, said difficult conditions made his straight-forward win more than useful.

“Gilles has won more games than all of us,” he said. “He played a fantastic event. Today we had trouble with the sun and the wind. I didn’t get many opportunities so straight-set is the best possible result.

“I’m happy how I pulled it out in the end.”