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PARIS, France -- Roger Federer reached a record eighth consecutive grand slam final by overcoming Russia's Nikolay Davydenko 7-5 7-6 7-6 in a thrilling French Open semifinal on Friday.
World number one Federer bettered the record of seven successive final appearances set by Australian Jack Crawford in the 1930s but was made to work for it.
The elegant 25-year-old Swiss, chasing the only grand slam title to elude him, showed more composure when it mattered to set up a final against either defending champion Rafael Nadal who beat Serbian newcomer Novak Djokovic in the second semifinal.
Fourth seed Davydenko, who failed to advance to his first final of a major event, gave his all but it was not enough.
The 26-year-old bowed out by sending a backhand wide on the second match point after just over three hours of high quality tennis.
It was a case of missed opportunities for fourth seed Daydenko who held the lead in each of the three sets and saw Federer save 14 break points.
Federer, who committed 45 unforced errors also had to save three set points in the final set.
"I could have lost in three sets," Federer said. "He's an excellent player. It's a superb win for me before the final."
He is bidding to win his fourth consecutive grand slam title, something last accomplished by Rod Laver in 1969, and 11th overall, which would tie Laver and Bjorn Borg for third on the all-time list.
A dejected Davydenko, who weighs in at a frail 70kg, said he needs to improve his physical durability if he is ever to become Federer's equal.
"I have to find more power," said the Russian.
"Maybe I made a mistake by starting so quickly. I was trying to fight all the time and by the second set I was already very tired. I need to learn how to keep it up for the whole match."
Federer bettered Jack Crawford's record of seven successive grand slam finals.