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Federer Storms into Semi-finals
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Roger Federer demolished Croatian dangerman Mario Ancic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 yesterday to move just two wins away from a fourth consecutive Wimbledon title.

The world No 1 shrugged off two lengthy rain delays to rack up his 46th win in a row on grass against the man who was the last player to beat him here in 2002.

Federer, who now faces either the Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek or Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden for a place in Sunday's final, was never in trouble in his quarter-final triumph over the seventh seed whose stylish serve-and-volley game had been expected to cause major problems.

"It's a great feeling," said Federer who has now reached a ninth successive Grand Slam semi-final. "It was difficult with the rain delays and also knowing that Mario was the last man to beat me here four years ago. That defeat made me very sad, so I'm happy to be in the semi-finals.

"But I'm a little surprised that I came through so convincingly."

The pair managed just four games on Centre Court before rain caused a 90-minute rain interruption but, when they returned, Federer seized control breaking straightaway to lead 3-2.

He smoothly clinched the first set 6-4 after 36 minutes.

With Federer ahead 3-2, back came the rain which kept the players off court for another hour.

But Ancic's fortunes didn't improve on the resumption with the world number one wrapping up the second set after only 70 minutes of playing time.

Federer grabbed a double break to lead 3-0 in the third set before Ancic stopped the rot with a break of his own in the fourth game, only the second time the top seed had lost his serve in the entire tournament.

However, he wasn't to be denied and took the tie on his third match point with an ace after 1hr 46min.

Navratilova to retire

Martina Navratilova has finally decided that, with her 50th birthday just four months away, enough is enough and she will retire this year.

"I just want to move on to my next life," Navratilova said.

Having collected 58 Grand Slam titles in total, she needs one more here to become the most successful Wimbledon competitor of all time.

At the moment she has 20 and has two chances to take the record as she has reached the quarter-finals of the women's doubles with South Africa's Liezel Huber and the third round of the mixed with Mark Knowles.

"I want to spend more time with my one and only, my animals," she said. "Devote more time to my business, which is trying to promote my book and do some commentating, if somebody wants to listen to what I have to say. "But most of all, it's to spend more time at home."

The veteran player quit the tour in 1994 having won a record 167 singles titles but she returned to play doubles in 2000.

"I came here to win a title, and we're still in both events. We have a very good shot in both doubles and the mixed. So I'm just concentrating on that. I can get sentimental when it's over, not yet."

Navratilova, dogged by a knee injury in recent times, has yet to decide whether she will make the US Open her swansong.

"I haven't made any decisions one way or the other. But the decision that this is my last year, that is a definite," she said.

"I have a job to do here which is to play well. I didn't come here for the strawberries and cream."

(China Daily July 6, 2006)

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