Fast start has Federer in Rome semifinals

May 18, 2012 at 5:41 PM
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ROME, May 18 (UPI) -- Third-seeded Roger Federer rode a near-perfect start to a straight-set victory Friday in quarterfinal play at the Italian Open.

Federer raced past Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-2 in 54 minutes. He was up 5-0 after just 12 1/2 minutes, having won 20 of the 23 points. He was 12-of-12 on serve -- with all coming on first serves.

He ended up losing 11 points in eight service games and took 65 percent of the points overall.

Federer draws world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Saturday's semifinals. Djokovic beat fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 6-1. He survived dropping his serve twice in the first set but lost only four points on serve in the second set.

Second-seeded Rafael Nadal improved to 12-3 lifetime versus Tomas Berdych, the No. 7 seed, with a 6-4, 7-5 decision Friday. He won three-quarters of the points on serve.

No. 6-seeded David Ferrer topped 16th-seeded Richard Gasquet in the other quarterfinal. Ferrer dropped serve once in each set but cashed on two of his five break chances in the second set to advance.

The match between Djokovic and Federer pits the world No. 1 versus the second-ranked player; the seedings were made before Monday when Federer passed Nadal for second in the rankings. Federer is 14-10 lifetime against Djokovic but Djokovic has won four of the last five times they played.

Nadal is a solid 14-4 against Ferrer, including 11-1 on clay.

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