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Fed breezes through strong winds in US

Roger Federer mastered the wild weather and his opponent to storm into the US Open semi-finals on Wednesday and remain on course for another showdown with his great rival Rafa Nadal.

Federer was at his brilliant best as he outclassed Sweden's dual French Open finalist Robin Soderling 6-4 6-4 7-5 to reach the last four for the seventh year in a row.

Yet to drop a set in the tournament, Federer next plays Serbia's Novak Djokovic in Saturday's men's semi-finals with a final against Spain's Nadal looming large. The US Open is the only grand slam where the pair have not met in the final.

Djokovic also advanced in straight sets, beating Frenchman Gael Monfils 7-6 6-1 6-2.

Caroline Wozniacki and Vera Zvonarea steamed into the women's semi-finals but were more relieved than excited after being tormented by the elements as much as their rivals.

"This felt like playing in a hurricane," Wozniacki said after beating unseeded Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 7-5. "It was just about surviving." Zvonareva was almost apologetic after her 6-3 7-5 win over Estonia's Kaia Kanepi that was littered with 11 service breaks and 88 unforced errors.

Federer alone seemed unaffected by the conditions, thumping 18 aces past a bewildered Soderling. The fifth seed ended a run of 12 straight losses to Federer when he beat him at Roland Garros in June but normal service resumed on the hardcourts of New York. "I've played in such strong winds, I've practised in such hot conditions. Whatever you throw at me, I can do it," Federer said.

Federer beat Djokovic in the 2007 final and the semi-finals each of the past two years and will be an overwhelming favourite to win again.

"I like playing under the radar sometimes," Djokovic said. "It releases the pressure on myself."

Wozniacki's opponent in Friday's women's semi-finals is Zvonareva. The winner will play either the defending champion Kim Clijsters or Venus Williams in Saturday's final.


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