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Federer-Nadal in semis clash

Shanghai: Defending champion Roger Federer extended his mastery over No. 5 Andy Roddick, winning 6-4, 6-2 on Friday at the Masters Cup in a match played largely for pride.

Both players had already earned semi-final berths from the Red Group, after the fourth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko beat No. 7 Fernando Gonzalez 6-4, 6-3 earlier to eliminate the Chilean. All that was at stake was determining who they face next in the year-ending tournament for the top eight men in the rankings.

Top-ranked Federer, who improved his career record against Roddick to 15-1, will play second-ranked Rafael Nadal on Saturday, while Roddick meets No. 6 David Ferrer, who went undefeated in the Gold Group.

The match was nearly a repeat of the Australian Open semi-finals when Federer blitzed Roddick, allowing the American only six games in three sets. Because he already had clinched his semi-final place by winning his first two matches, Roddick had said he had no pressure on him this time and hoped he could cut into Federer’s advantage.

No chance. Federer, who had looked in danger after losing his opening match against Gonzalez, was thoroughly dominant. He never faced a break point and blunted Roddick’s powerful first serve and picked on his second one. The Swiss star finished with 33 winners to only 13 unforced errors.

Federer said even he was impressed by his performance, which included hitting 83 percent of his first serves.

“I know that my game matches up well with his, but that doesn’t mean I'm going to beat him all the time,” Federer said. “Andy has been trying many, many different things out against me. It’s dangerous for me to play against him, especially with the guy having such a big serve. Today I read it well.”

Clearly frustrated, Roddick smashed a ball into the stands after losing the first set, then broke his racket by bashing it against his left foot five times when Federer broke him for a 3-0 lead in the second set. Serving at 5-2, Federer held at love, whacking a clean forehand winner to finish it in 61 minutes.

“It seems like most times we play, he’s on top of his game, which is a little annoying,” Roddick said. “I guess I just have to figure out what about my game brings out the best in him and try to adjust. You see some of the guys who beat him are quick. Unfortunately, that’s not my strength. You kind of have to go with what you’re good at, try to make adjustments.” (AP)

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