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Virtuoso Federer through to final

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NEW YORK -- Top seed and defending champion Roger Federer produced another virtuoso performance on Saturday to defeat Nikolay Davydenko of Russia 6-1 7-5 6-4 and reach the US Open final.

Federer will play American favorite Andy Roddick who beat Mikhail Zouzhny of Russia 6-7 6-0 7-6 6-3 in the later semifinal.

The win put Federer on course for a third Grand Slam title of the year after the Australian Open and Wimbledon. He also reached the French Open final but lost in four sets to Rafael Nadal.

Opening up the day's programme under hot sunshine on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court, Federer opened with all guns blazing leaving Davydenko shell-shocked.

He broke the Russian in the second and sixth games and took a one set to nil lead in just 22 minutes.

The seventh seed was scrambling just to stay with Federer in the second set, but he was left shaking his ahead once again as the world No. 1 peppered him with deep angled groundstrokes and broke for a third time to take a 3-2 lead.

Davydenko though drew applause by breaking back immediately to level at 3-3 and he hung on doggedly until 5-5 when Federer forced him again on to the back foot and a raking backhand drive forced the Russian to hit wide on break point.

A game later Davydenko was two sets to love down and facing Mission Impossible against the tournament favorite.

Federer's pressure forced more errors from a desparate Davydenko to get an early service break in the third, but as in the previous set the Russian broke straight back.

It was to no avail, however, as Federer simply opened his shoulders once more to break serve again and this time he comfortably served out to reach his sixth consecutive Grand Slam final

If he wins on Sunday he will be only the third man to record a hat-trick of US Open title wins in the Open era after John McEnroe (1979-81) and Ivan Lendl (1985-87).

It will also be his ninth Grand Slam win, five short of the all-time record currently held by Pete Sampras.

Against Roddick he is 10-1 ahead in previous meetings, but the American played well enough against Youzhny to suggest the match might be close.

Roddick, now coached by Jimmy Connors, recovered from the loss of the first set tiebreak to whitewash his opponent in the second to level.

The third set tiebreak proved decisive and a single break in the eighth game was enough to take 2003 winner Roddick back to the final.


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Federer remains firmly on course for his third successive U.S. Open victory.

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