Melbourne - Unruffled Roger Federer brushed
aside the challenge of Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro in straight
sets Tuesday to become the first man through to the Australian Open
Federer, who always looked in control, won 6-4, 6-3,
6-2 on a sun-drenched Rod Laver Arena and will next face either
long-time rival Rafael Nadal or Czech Tomas Berdych.
In a rematch
of the 2009 US Open final won by the Argentine, the third seed started
in ominous fashion, unveiling his full repertoire of strokes and
breaking del Potro at his first opportunity.
The tall Argentine,
seeded 11th, settled and forced a break of his own in the seventh game,
but a double-fault cost him the opener.
An exquisite backhand down
the line gave Federer another break and a 3-1 lead in the second set,
and he moved two sets clear after a tough ninth game in which he was
forced to save four break points.
But that game proved a key
missed opportunity for del Potro as he was again broken early in the
third set, and an untroubled Federer broke again on his way to taking it
"I'm very happy," Federer said. "I thought it was a great
match. It was tough with the sun and shade creeping across the court but
I thought we did well. I thought it was a high-quality match."
said he was aware of the dangers posed by the 6ft 6ins (198 cm) del
Potro but said he was "able to manoeuvre him around" the court.
said he would probably tune in to watch the later semi-final between
Nadal and Berdych, even though he knew the games of both well.
"There are no secrets out there but I will still enjoy it. I love good tennis," he said.
for 16-time grand slam winner Federer, who has not yet dropped a set --
although he had a walkover in the second round -- means he advances to
his 30th grand slam semi-final, just one behind Jimmy Connors on the
The Swiss is chasing his first major since his
Australian Open triumph in 2010 after failing to win a grand slam last
year for the first time since he captured his first, at Wimbledon in
Del Potro last year made a rapid comeback from a wrist
injury that kept him out for most of 2010, improving from a low of 485
in the rankings in January 2011 to a year-end ranking of 11.