Federer, Hewittt to meet in semis

Friday, September 9, 2005

NEW YORK -- Roger Federer sure knows how to kill a party.

Federer's quiet brilliance tranquilized U.S. Open fans one night after they roared nonstop for Andre Agassi and James Blake.

Watching Federer, the defending champion and top seed, roll past Argentine David Nalbandian 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 Thursday night was like watching a rerun of a mediocre movie that has one star, no plot and no drama.

Federer was too good -- too strong with his serves, too quick with his returns, too sharp on his groundstrokes and volleys -- to let the match become anything more than a predictable step into the semifinals against Lleyton Hewitt, a winner earlier in the day in five sets against Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.

Federer beat Hewitt in the Open final last year and has won their last eight matches, four in Grand Slam events, going back to the 2004 Australian Open.

The third-seeded Hewitt, who won the Open in 2001, advanced with a 2-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory over the unseeded Nieminen, the first player from Finland to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Hewitt made only two unforced errors in the fifth set while putting away 15 winners to end the threat from the left-handed Nieminen. In the first set, Hewitt racked up 16 unforced errors.

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