30 Jan 2009

Ominous warning to rivals from Swiss great

9:17 am on 30 January 2009

Roger Federer says he's playing better and better as the Australian Open tennis championship gets down to the business end.

He'll know by early Saturday if it'll be his arch rival Rafael Nadal or another Spaniard, the 14th-seeded Fernando Verdasco he faces in the final on Sunday, after imperiously sweeping aside the American Andy Roddick in last night's semi-final in straight sets.

If Federer wins the final he'll equal Pete Sampras's all time record of 14 Grand Slam titles.

Cool and calm as all around him wilted, Federer overpowered Roddick 6-2 7-5 7-5 to reach his fourth Australian Open final, extending his record against Roddick to 16 wins from 18 matches.

Earlier Serena Williams also reached her fourth final in Melbourne, ending Elena Dementieva's 15-match winning streak 6-3 6-4. The second seeded Williams willl play the Russian third seed Dinara Safina in Saturday's final after Safina beat Vera Zvonareva 6-3 7-6.

The womens semis yesterday were played under a closed roof yesterday as temperatures peaked at 44 degrees, which dropped to the mid-30s in the evening, and the men's semi was an open air match.

The second mens semi-final between the Spaniards Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco is at 10.30 tonight.