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Federer Too Strong for Local Hope

Estoril, Portugal

Roger FedererAFP/Getty ImagesRoger Federer

ATP World No. 1 Roger Federer booked his place in the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Portuguese wild card Frederico Gil – currently No. 146 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings.

The match was suspended on two occasions with Federer leading 3-2 in the first set and at 1-1 in the second set. The first downpour halted play for almost 40 minutes.

Federer had his serve broken twice – in the seventh game of the first set and again at the start of the second – but was able to complete his 14th win of the season in one hour and 35 minutes.

By reaching the semifinals, Federer betters his girlfriend’s best result at the Estadio Nacional. In 2000, Mirka Vavrinec advanced to the quarterfinals (l. to Farina Elia).

Federer is hoping to clinch his 54th career ATP title this week and his first since winning his fourth Tennis Masters Cup shield in Shanghai in November 2007.

The Swiss is practising at the Estoril Open with Spaniard Jose Higueras, who coached former Roland Garros champions Jim Courier and Michael Chang.

Earlier in the day, Gil had completed his rain-interrupted second round match against compatriot Joao Sousa. Resuming at 7-6(5), 0-1, the 23-year-old needed just under 30 minutes to win the second set 6-2.

Federer will next face Denis Gremelmayr for the first time since 2005 Bangkok on Saturday, after the German World No. 104 reached his maiden ATP semifinal with a hard-fought 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Czech Jiri Vanek.

Meanwhile, World No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko recorded his 10th straight victory, booking his place in the semifinals with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 win over No. 7 seed Marc Gicquel of France on Court Central in two hours and 31 minutes.

Davydenko is now 3-0 lifetime against the World No. 55. The pair also met at the Australian Open in January.

Davydenko has now an ATP-best 23-5 record on the season, which includes winning his second ATP Masters Series shield at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Florida, earlier this month.

The 2003 champion and 2006 runner-up will next meet Frenchman Florent Serra, who advanced to his first ATP-level semifinal since Bucharest in September 2006 (l. to Volandri).

Serra saved all nine break points he faced in beating Italian Flavio Cipolla 6-1, 6-1 in 63 minutes.


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