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Roger Federer moved to within a win of re-capturing the world no.2 ranking on Saturday as he easily dealt with the challenge of Serbian Janko Tipsarevic to advance to his 104th career final at the Mutua Madrid Masters. The legendary Swiss is a two-time former winner in Madrid having captured the crown in 2006 and 2009, and looked on course to keeping the arithmetic progression on track with a win every three years. Standing in Federer's way and an incredible 20th Masters title will be Czech Tomas Berdych, who has beaten the 16-time Grand Slam champion in three of their last five meetings. Berdych sneaked past 6 foot 6 inch 'Tower of Tandil' Juan Martin del Potro in two tight sets.
Roger Federer has had an eventful season, winning titles in Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells, and looked well on course to adding Madrid to that list with a crushing 6-2, 6-3 win against no.7 seed Janko Tipsarevic. Tipsarevic, who stunned Novak Djokovic in yesterday's quarter-final, failed to produce that same level of play. Like yesterday, the opening exchanges proved crucial, but unlike Novak, who fluffed 4 breakpoint opportunities early in the match, Federer was a little bit more clinical, breaking early for a 3-1 lead. With his nose in front, it take something special to catch the Swiss, and Tipsarevic didn't have the quality necessary, instead surrendering another break as he went down a set to love.
Tipsarevic had struggled with his first serve in the first set, and his troubles got worse in the second as he landed just 8 first serves in 4 games. Federer was more than comfortable teeing off on the abundance of second serves on offer, and wrapped up the contest with consummate ease in just 67 minutes to improve his career head-to-head record with the Serbian to a perfect 5-0.
Earlier in the day, Tomas Berdych won the battle of the giants, narrowly edging his way past Juan Martin del Potro in two tiebreaks 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6). The 2 hour 18 minute battle was a high quality affair with the pair hitting 71 winners between them. Berdych battled back from a break down in the first set and kept his head while Del Potro lost his cool in both tiebreakers. Arguing with the umpire over decisions that went against him (which the umpire actually got spot on), the Argentine made life unnecessarily complicated for himself. Berdych meanwhile retained his composure and played some smart tennis, wrapping up the match with an excellent overhead.
While Federer will go into the final as the overwhelming favourite, Berdych does have that memorable Wimbledon quarter-final win over the legend to draw inspiration from. The pair have not men on tour so far this year, but Federer did win their most recent meeting at the ATP World Tour Finals last year, in straight sets 4 and 3. From a neutral perspective one does hope that Berdych brings his 'A-game' for this one or we could be in for an early finish.
(3) R Federer defeats (7) J Tipsarevic 62 63
(6) T Berdych defeats (10) J Del Potro 76(5) 76(6)
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