Roger Federer Sails Past Robin Soderling at Windy US Open
Earlier on Wednesday, third-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia defeated Frenchman Gael Monfils 7-6 (2), 6-1, 6-2 and will face Federer for a fourth year in a row at Flushing Meadows.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion from Switzerland had an easier time handling the heavy winds than Soderling during the match. Between the windy conditions and Federer's solid play, 26-year-old Soderling never found any footing and failed to generate an ace on his powerful serve until the middle of the third set.
"I've been practicing my serve a whole lot, for my whole career. If I can't serve in the wind, I've got a problem, you know?" said the 29-year-old Federer in an on-court interview. "You could probably wake me up at 2 in the morning, or 4 in the morning, and I could hit a few serves."
It was routine from the beginning for the No. 2-seeded Federer, breaking Soderling on his first opportunity of the match with a beautifully sliced backhand drop shot to go up 4-3 in the opening set. The break rattled Soderling and the Swede never gained any consistent momentum against the 29-year-old Federer.
Soderling served poorly, and just when it looked like he was about to creep back into the match with a break against Federer to go up 5-3 in the third set, he dropped his next service game and put the match right back on serve at 5-4. Federer held serve during the tenth game to level the set at 5-5, then broke Soderling again in the 11th game to go up 6-5 before he fittingly served the match out with two aces to claim another night victory at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The five-time tournament champion has yet to drop a set at this year's Open.
Federer's groundstrokes were powerful and precise, forcing the normally aggressive Soderling to play on the defensive throughout the match. Federer generated 20 more winners than Soderling -- ending the match with 36 -- and 18 aces, while the normally hard-serving Swede only finished with two. Federer's serve carried him through the match, winning 86 percent of his first-serve points and limiting Soderling to 67 percent on his first serve.
The Swiss native will face Novak Djokovic for the fourth straight year at the U.S. Open. Federer has won every matchup between the two at Flushing Meadows and holds a 10-5 career record against the third-ranked Serb.
Federer defeated Djokovic in straight sets at the 2007 U.S. Open championship.
The two will play on Saturday in a much anticipated semifinal match. It will be the third straight year the two face off against each other in the tournament's semifinal round.