Federer advances to final in Australia
By John Pye
MELBOURNE, Australia — Roger Federer decided the crowd didn't get quite enough value from his semifinal romp over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, so he worked on his comedy routine.
After dismissing his 10th-seeded opponent 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 last night, Federer looked toward the final and the last obstacle between him and a fourth Australian Open title — Andy Murray.
Murray, as the Scotsman is incessantly reminded, will be trying to end a long drought for British men at Grand Slam tournaments when he takes the court tomorrow night.
"I know he'd like to win the first for British tennis since, what is it 150,000 years?" Federer cracked during his courtside interview. "The poor guy who has to go through those moments over and over again."
Reminded later that the dry spell extended only 74 years, Federer smiled.
"Oh," he said. "I missed it by a little bit."
The last British man to win a major was Fred Perry in 1936. Murray is the first Brit to make it to a championship match in Australia since John Lloyd in 1977.
"He's got a lot of expectations. ... The pressure's going to be tough, so we'll see how he handles it," Federer said. "I'll make sure I'll make it as tough as possible."
Federer was asked if he could imagine being in the same position as Murray — carrying the hopes of an entire country long denied.
"You could be one of those nations that never had a Grand Slam champion, you know," he said. "No, I mean, it's just funny because that's the question he probably gets asked quite a bit. Wouldn't be surprised if he's a bit fed up by it. I think he's done really well, handling the pressure and considering the media in England .... he's done great."
Federer, winner of a record 15 majors, will be playing in his 22nd Grand Slam final. He was relaxed as ever at Rod Laver Arena in dispatching Tsonga in 1 1/2 hours.
Murray can take solace in this statistic: He leads Federer 6-4 in career head-to-heads. But the top-ranked Swiss has won the last two and, more important, their only Grand Slam encounter: a straight-sets victory at the 2008 U.S. Open final.