Federer, Djokovic and Nadal cruise into Hamburg semis

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic all have cruised into the Hamburg Masters semi-finals with straight-set wins.

updated: May 20, 2008 12:57 IST
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Defending champion Roger Federer, clay-court king Rafael Nadal and Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic all have cruised into the Hamburg Masters semi-finals with straight-set wins.

Nadal on Friday saw off compatriot and 11th-seed Carlos Moya 6-1, 6-3 to set up a showdown with Djokovic in Saturday's semi-final.

The double prize of a place in Sunday's final and the world number two ranking are both at stake.

Djokovic will take Nadal's place, which he has held since July 2005 as number two behind Federer, if he beats the Spaniard although in their previous meetings on clay the Serb has lost all three.

"There is no favourite for today's semi-final, he is leading the ATP Race this season, while I am playing very well," said Nadal, who has won the last three titles at Roland Garros which starts in just over a week.

"It will be no more important than any other Masters Series semi-final, the main thing is I am confident, playing well and looking forward to a tough match."

Djokovic is certainly the man in form this year and he cruised through his quarter-final against Spain's Albert Montanes to seal a 6-2, 6-3 win in 77 minutes.

"I didn't want to underestimate my opponent, but I was conscious of saving energy and keeping something back for the semi-final," said Djokovic.

World number one Federer always looked comfortable as he beat Spain's Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-3 in 80 minutes to face Italy's Andreas Seppi, ranked 43rd in the world, Saturday for a place in the final.

Verdasco, 28th in the world, had removed fifth-seed David Ferrer and tenth-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny in previous rounds but a foot injury in the second set compromised his bid to oust his Swiss opponent.

"It was quite a tough match, he's a very talented player who is capable of beating any player on any surface, I had to work hard," said Federer.

"I thought he would come out and go for aces, but he hit some great shots off his backhand."

Seppi came out on top 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 in a marathon three hour 13 minutes contest against home hope Nicolas Kiefer in a quarter-final where both players served for the match.

Roared on by the crowd, Kiefer bounced back from being 6-3, 5-3 down in the second set to serve for the match at 5-4 up in the third.

But Seppi held his nerve to deny Kiefer the opportunity to become the first German in the semi-finals here since 1997.

Federer now has 21 straight wins in Hamburg having won four of the last six tournaments here and beat triple French Open champion Nadal in last year's final.

The Swiss star admitted it was good experience to face left-handed Verdasco, especially if he plays Nadal again in Sunday's final.

"It's always good to face left-handed players, especially with Roland Garros coming up," he said.

"If you face a left-hander in Paris it always helps if you have faced one a week ago rather than five months before."