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Federer races to Roddick showdown

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MELBOURNE, Australia -- Roger Federer, far short of his fluent best, beat Spain's Tommy Robredo 6-3 7-6 7-5 on Tuesday to set up an Australian Open semifinal showdown with American Andy Roddick.

The top seed and defending champion struggled in blustery conditions against the seventh seed, but still did enough at key moments to extend his winning streak to 34 matches and stay on course for his 10th grand slam title.

Sixth seed Roddick enjoyed an easier passage as he played almost flawless tennis to demolish fellow American Mardy Fish 6-2 6-2 6-2.

Since the draw was made for the first grand slam of the season, a meeting between undisputed world number one Federer and big-serving Roddick has been widely predicted.

Roddick, who beat Federer in the warmup Kooyong tournament, has endured a rollercoaster ride, surviving epic five-setters against former champion Marat Safin and Croatia's Mario Ancic, while the Swiss star has yet to drop a set.

Robredo at times threatened to end that record, but Federer closed out the match on his second match point to reach his 11th successive grand slam semifinal in two hours 20 minutes.

"Conditions were very slow and it was windy so I had to adjust to that," Federer told a news conference. "Tommy is a tough baseliner so he plays it smart. I tried to change things up a bit but I struggled to find my rhythm.

"Overall, I played pretty well. The breaks of serve were due to the windy conditions. My attacking style worked out well and I volleyed really well. As long as I get through I'm happy."

Easier passage

Former world number one Roddick had a far easier passage as he battered his former high school friend in just one hour and 27 minutes, making only four unforced errors to advance to the last four at Melbourne Park for the third time.

"I played pretty well today," Roddick said in a courtside interview. "I think Mardy might have been a little bit nervous at the beginning as he made a few errors he wouldn't normally make but I was happy with the way I played."

Roddick blasted through the first set in 29 minutes and the unseeded Fish, who upset fourth seed Ivan Ljubicic in the first round, simply did not possess the attacking weapons to disrupt the rhythm of his Davis Cup team mate.

The 25-year-old Fish, appearing in his first grand slam quarterfinal, broke back to 1-1 at the start of the second set but Roddick simply lifted his game, thundering down 10 aces and a blistering range of groundstrokes to overwhelm his opponent.

The former U.S. Open champion broke serve seven times, racing through the final set and sealing victory on his first match point when Fish sent a return beyond the baseline.

Roddick (left) commiserates with his frend Fish after his easy passage.

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