Federer closes in on maiden Paris Masters trophy

Paris :Roger Federer showed glimpses of his brilliant best on Friday when he saw off Austrian Juergen Melzer 6-1 7-6 to reach the Paris Masters semi-finals.

The top-seeded Swiss, who has yet to win the tournament, lost just three points on his serve in a 20-minute opening set.

Federer signalled his intentions by starting with an ace and followed up with 17 more unanswered serves as he lined up a clash with third seed Andy Murray or Frenchman Gael Monfils.

Melzer read his opponent`s serve better in the second set but made a big mistake in the tiebreak.

At 4-4 he netted an easy volley and Federer wrapped up victory with an ace and a service winner on the super-fast Bercy sports hall court.

Frenchman Michael Llodra followed his surprise win over Novak Djokovic by outfoxing Russian Nikolay Davydenko 7-5 6-1.

He next faces fourth seed Robin Soderling of Sweden who edged past Andy Roddick 7-5 6-4.

The unseeded Llodra produced another fine display of attacking tennis to counter the 10th seed`s pace from the baseline.

"It was not easy to confirm my victory against Djokovic (with another win). But I did not want it to end there," said Llodra in a courtside interview.

"It will be tough against Soderling because he is a great indoor player and he is full of confidence."

The usually ice-cool Davydenko toyed with the crowd, raising his arm to a Mexican wave.

Llodra however peppered the court with serve and volley winners to set up a meeting with Soderling, a player he beat in their two previous encounters.

"I think he beat me once at the Wii," Llodra joked.

Soderling used his devastating forehand to down Roddick who was on the back foot throughout.

The Swede converted his fifth break chance, in the 11th game, to seize the opening set. The twice French Open runner-up then broke again early in the second before ending the contest with his 18th ace.

Roddick now heads to London for the ATP Finals. The event starts on Nov. 21 but the ATP has asked the players to be on site as early as Wednesday.

"It doesn`t leave much time for me to get home and back now, does it?," said the American. "Apparently we are available for you people (the media) for five days.

"If you ask nicely we`ll be around. We can do coffee or something," Roddick added with a smile.

Bureau Report

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