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Federer tames Dimitrov to reach Brisbane final

BRISBANE: Roger Federer moved to within one win of his 1,000 career victory when he crushed Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday to reach the final of the Brisbane International.

The Swiss maestro produced a masterclass display to brush aside his young challenger, dubbed “Baby Fed”, 6-2 6-2 in just 53 minutes.

Federer will now play Milos Raonic in Sunday’s final after the big-serving Canadian blasted 34 aces past Kei Nishikori to win the first semi-final 6-7(4) 7-6(4) 7-6(4).

If Federer wins his 83rd career title on Sunday he will join Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl as just the third man to chalk up 1,000 ATP match wins.

“It’s a goal for the season, so I still have time to get to a thousand,” he said. “I hope it’s tomorrow, clearly.

“It’s a really big number, no doubt about it. Love to get it tomorrow, especially in the finals in an ATP event where most of my wins have come.

“If not tomorrow, I hope it happens at the Australian Open. Been a lot of the matches, a lot of toughening out plays.

“I don’t know if it’s a goal, but it would definitely be an incredible milestone to reach.”

The 33-year-old holds a 7-1 win record over Raonic, one of the new young guns starting to make their mark on the game.

Dimitrov is also regarded as one of the most promising emerging talents after reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year but was unable to mount a serious challenge against Federer.

The world number two broke Dimitrov in the opening game then three more times to complete a straight-sets win at the Pat Rafter Arena.

Despite not having won a grand slam title since 2012, Federer is steadily improving his form leading into the Australian Open, starting Jan. 19.

He struggled in his opening match against little-known John Millman but took just 39 minutes to win his next match with Australian qualifier James Duckworth.

“I was able to play straightforward tennis, like yesterday, just really aggressive,” Federer said.

“Against a really good player, it’s a great result.

“I’m happy I didn’t waste much energy. I’m fresh for the finals.” (Reuters)

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