Andy Roddick, of the USA, returns to Sebastien Grosjean, of France, during their quarterfinal match on Centre Court at Wimbledon Wednesday, June 29, 2005.
AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus
WIMBLEDON, England Chasing down shots all over the court, Roger Federer was rewarded with another berth in the Wimbledon semifinals.
The two-time defending champion relied on his retrieval skills Wednesday to beat Fernando Gonzalez 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (2). Federer's opponent Friday will be No. 3-seeded Lleyton Hewitt, who defeated Feliciano Lopez 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (2).
Also advancing was No. 2 Andy Roddick, who outlasted frequent practice partner Sebastien Grosjean 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. Roddick will next play No. 12 Thomas Johansson, who earned a semifinal berth at a major event for the first time since winning the 2002 Australian Open.
All four men's semifinalists have won major titles. The last time that happened at Wimbledon was in 1993.
Federer repeatedly ran down line drives from the big-swinging Gonzalez and extended his grass-court winning streak to 34 matches, including 19 at the All England Club.
''Today I was pushed very much into the corners, and I had to come up with something,'' Federer said. ''I've always relied on my defensive game. I always thought I was good at it. Today I had to prove it once again.''
The top-ranked Federer is 96-5 since June 2004 and trying to become the third player since 1936 to win three consecutive Wimbledon titles.
Hewitt reached the semifinals for the first time since winning the 2002 championship. He has lost seven consecutive matches against Federer dating back to the January 2004.
''It's going to be a tough match,'' Hewitt said. ''There's a reason he has won the tournament the last two years. It's like a final for me.''
Roddick converted only five of 16 break-point chances against Grosjean but came through at key moments with big serves of up to 141 mph. He hit 47 unreturned serves, including 14 aces, without a single double-fault to move one round closer to a potential rematch in the final against Federer, who beat Roddick for the 2004 title.
Roddick came into the tournament following a disappointing clay-court season and had lost his past five five-set matches. He has won two on his run to the semifinals.
''It feels good to get through a couple of five-setters in a row,'' he said. ''There was a lot of heat on me coming into this tournament, and I wanted to prove that I'm still a pretty good tennis player. I'd love to take it further. I'm not satisfied yet.''
Missed opportunities hurt him in the first and fourth sets, but he kept Grosjean pinned behind the baseline while repeatedly charging forward to slam winners or put away volleys. Roddick won 42 of 59 points at the net.
Roddick is 2-0 against Johansson, the first Swede to reach the Wimbledon semifinals since two-time champion Stefan Edberg in 1993. Johansson advanced by beating No. 18 David Nalbandian 7-6 (5), 6-2, 6-2.
On Thursday, two-time champion Venus Williams plays in her first major semifinal in two years when she meets defending champion Maria Sharapova. The other semifinal will be between top-ranked Lindsay Davenport, the 1999 champion, and third-seeded Amelie Mauresmo.
Aside from a 38-minute rain delay, the tournament's pleasant weather continued, with lots of sunshine and highs in the upper 70s. Federer was just as good, committing just 10 unforced errors against Gonzalez.
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