Federer picks up pace to reach semis in Hamburg

Last updated at 10:12 19 May 2007

Roger Federer came through a worrying second-set slump to beat Spain's David Ferrer 6-3 4-6

6-3 and reach the semi-finals of the Hamburg Masters on Friday.

The world number one was in dazzling form at the start of the quarter-final as he broke the Spanish 12th seed in his first and last service games.

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He edged into a 4-2 lead in the second only to throw that

commanding position away, losing his next two service games as

he suddenly seemed unable to get his forehand on target.

The Swiss, who had never lost so much as a set in six

previous meetings with Ferrer, pulled his service game together

for the decider but with his opponent gaining in confidence he

had few chances to break.

The turning point came when Federer, serving at 3-3 and

30-30, saw a scooped forehand hit the top of the net and dribble

over. It brought a relieved smile from Federer, while Ferrer

threw his racket down in frustration on the red clay.

Federer duly held and took a decisive 5-3 lead when he

converted a fifth break point in Ferrer's next service game.

Federer will continue his preparation for the French Open,

the only grand slam he has never won, with a semi-final against

fourth seeded Serb Novak Djokovic or Spain's Carlos Moya.

The favourite Rafael Nadal will look to extend his

clay-court winning streak to 80 matches when he takes on fifth

seed Fernando Gonzalez of Chile. The reward for the winner of

that match will be a semi-final against Nicolas Almagro or 16th

seed Lleyton Hewitt.

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