US Open: Roger Federer marches past Robin Soderling
Roger Federer took another serene step towards regaining the US Open title by taking revenge against Sweden's Robin Soderling at a windswept Flushing Meadows.
Federer held a 12-1 career record against the fifth seed before today, but had crucially lost their most recent encounter in the quarter-finals of the French Open.
That ended the Swiss star's incredible run of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals, but Federer went some way to making amends with a 6-4 6-4 7-5 win on Arthur Ashe Stadium to advance to his seventh straight US Open semi-final.
The world number two made light of the tricky conditions in New York to serve 18 aces and just two double faults, while it took Soderling until the fifth game of the third set to serve the first of his two aces in the match.
Federer will now face Novak Djokovic for the fourth year in succession in the tournament, the 16-time Grand Slam winner having won all three previous contests - in the 2007 final and in the semi-finals of 2008 and 2009.
"I've practised my serve a whole lot my whole career, if I can't serve in the wind I've got a problem!" joked Federer, who has yet to drop a set in the championships. "You can wake me up at two in the morning or four in the morning and I can hit serves."
Federer certainly needed to serve himself out of trouble in the first set, saving a total of four break points before converting his only one of the set with a sublime drop shot.
Soderling threatened to get back into the match in the second set when he recovered an early break to level at 2-2, but then promptly surrendered his serve in the next game after missing an easy smash when 40-0 up.
The Swede then served for the third set at 5-3 but was again broken straight back and Federer moved in for the kill.
Asked about facing Djokovic again in Saturday's semi-finals, Federer added: "He's been playing great after a hiccup in the first round, he's a great player.
"We just played each other in Toronto and I got lucky to get through that one there and he's obviously looking for the big breakthrough at the US Open so it's going to be a tough one."
Earlier in the day Djokovic had been happy to still be flying under the radar despite reaching his fourth consecutive US Open semi-final.
Djokovic beat France's Gael Monfils 7-6 (7/2) 6-1 6-2 in their quarter-final and has now won 14 sets in succession since trailing Serbian Davis Cup team-mate Viktor Troicki by two sets to one in the opening round.
However, most of the talk at Flushing Meadows has been about the prospect of a final between the world's top two players, with Rafael Nadal needing to win in New York to complete the career Grand Slam and Federer looking to claim his sixth title in seven years.
But Djokovic said: "I like playing under the radar sometimes. It releases the pressure on myself and I am just focusing on my matches, doing the job, and winning the matches.
"Of course, as the two best players in the world they are the most dominant in the last five, six years. They are the biggest favourites to get into the finals and I'm sure that the crowd wants them in the finals.
"But I will try not to make that happen."