Five-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer is through to his 21st grand slam semifinal in a row after crushing big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic in straight sets on another scorching afternoon on Centre Court on Wednesday.
The second-seeded Swiss, who is attempting to win a record 15th major title, will now face unseeded Tommy Haas for a place in Sunday’s final, after the German repeated his Halle final victory over Novak Djokovic by ousting the fourth-seeded Serb in four sets. “It’s difficult against Karlovic because there aren’t many baseline rallies on his serve or mine,” Federer told the BBC after going through 6-3 7-5 7-6 in just one hour and 42 minutes. “It’s tough mentally because it’s hard to break him. So I was happy to break him and win the match. To be in my 21st consecutive major semifinal shows how consistent I have been and injury free. “I’m playing well at the moment but there are some big matches still to come.” Going into the match, 6ft 10in (2.08 meters) Karlovic had not dropped serve in the tournament and had won 79 service games in four rounds, facing just four break points and firing a massive 137 aces in the process.
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But second seed Federer ended that streak in the fourth game with a superb backhand return — and was never in danger from then on as he continued his march towards a sixth All England Club title. Federer must now overcome Haas — the oldest man left in the draw at 31 — who pushed the Swiss maestro to the brink of defeat at the French Open when he took a two-sets lead. Former world number two Haas, who is seeded 24th here, continued his recent renaissance with a 7-5 7-6 4-6 6-3 win to reach the semifinals for the first time. If Haas can cause a sensation by defeating Federer, he would be one win away from becoming the oldest Wimbledon champion since Arthur Ashe in 1975. It is seven years since Haas was rated as the second best player in the world but a succession of injuries, including a recurring shoulder problem, have forced his ranking outside the top 30. After beating Djokovic in the final of the grasscourt tournament in Halle last month, Haas has spent over 10 hours on court at Wimbledon — much of it in sweltering heat — to get to this stage for the first time.