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TENNIS > Champ Djokovic sets up Federer showdown

LONDON - Agence France-Presse

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Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts as he breaks the serve of Florian Mayer of Germany during a quarterfinals match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, England, Wednesday, July 4, 2012. AP photo

Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts as he breaks the serve of Florian Mayer of Germany during a quarterfinals match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, England, Wednesday, July 4, 2012. AP photo

Novak Djokovic booked a Wimbledon semi-final showdown with Roger Federer as the defending champion crushed Germany's Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 in the last eight on Wednesday.
 
Djokovic recovered from a slow start to give a masterclass in the art of brutal baseline hitting and Mayer, the 31st seed, lacked the weapons to respond.
 
World number one Djokovic can now turn his attention to a ninth consecutive Grand Slam semi-final appearance, a feat surpassed by only Federer, Rod Laver and Ivan Lendl.
 
Djokovic's solitary defeat in his last 33 Grand Slam matches came against Rafael Nadal in last month's French Open final.
 
And with Nadal back home in Mallorca after his shock exit, Djokovic, who has beaten six-time Wimbledon champion Federer in their last three meetings including the semi-finals of the US and French Opens, must fancy his chances of extending his Grand Slam dominance to four titles from the last five majors.
 
"It took me a little bit of time to get used to the conditions because I played my last three matches indoors," Djokovic said.
 
"It could have gone a different way but I held my nerve and I'm very satisfied with the overall performance.
 
"It's always a pleasure playing against Roger. I'm looking forward to it.
 
"He is a great champion and has been so dominant and consistent at the Grand Slams. He is the ultimate challenge on grass courts." Under ominious grey skies, Djokovic made a hesitant opening on Court One as Mayer broke for a 3-2 lead, but the Serbian top seed sprung into life with a break of his own in the next game.
 
After saving three break points following a 20-minute rain delay, Djokovic landed the crucial blow as he broke at 5-4 to take the first set.
 
Mayer, who reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals eight years ago before fitness and motivation problems prompted him to take time out of the game, emulated his boyhood hero Boris Becker with some spectacular diving volleys as he tried to keep Djokovic at bay in the second set.
 
But Djokovic -- bidding to become the first man since Federer in 2007 to retain the Wimbledon title -- was in the groove now and he unfurled a sublime crosscourt winner to break for a 3-1 lead before securing another break to take the second set.
 
Djokovic had worn Mayer down and the 25-year-old produced a blizzard of winners to break for a 5-4 lead before serving out the win.

July/04/2012

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