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Federer sets up clash with Djokovic
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Defending champion Roger Federer defeated James Blake in straight sets at the Australian Open to advance to the semifinals and will face third-seeded Novak Djokovic.


Blake tried to catch the steps of Federer in the first set, but Federer was too strong for Blake as the Swiss took the match 7-5, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.


Both players had break early in the opening set. Leading at 6-5 Federer took the last chance to take the first set after Blake sent a long return.


Blake came back hard in the second set and force Federer into the tiebreaker. After saving three set points after falling behind 6-2, Blake finally crushed by Federer on an ace.


The third set was much easier for Federer as he ran to a 5-1 lead and sealed the victory at 6-4.


"It was a good match, playing against James it's always great fun," said Federer after the match.


Federer will face Djokovic in the semifinal, with the 20-year-old continuing his rally to whitewash fifth-seeded David Ferrer 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 to book another semifinal place.


"I played him already last year, I played a lot of these guys actually last year who did well again this year. So this time around, instead of being a fourth round, it's even bigger. I think always when the top four guys play against each other, it's always entertaining for both of us," said Federer.


In women's singles, fourth-seeded Ivanovic book the first semifinal place in her career after beating Venus Williams by 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.


"She's definitely improved on everything in her game," said Williams, who lost her chance to chase the seventh Grand Slam title after the defeat. "That's really what it takes at this level."


Ninth seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia eased past 29th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-2 to set up a clash with Ivanovic in the semifinal which will be held on Friday.


(Xinhua News Agency January 24, 2008)

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