Wimbledon: Federer to face Djokovic in semifinal

Switzerland's Roger Federer plays a backhand shot during his men's singles quarter-final victory over Russia's Mikhail Youzhny on day nine of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships tennis tournament at the All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 4, 2012.
LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

(AP) WIMBLEDON, England - Roger Federer earned a record 32nd Grand Slam semifinal berth and moved closer to a record-tying seventh Wimbledon title when he beat Mikhail Youzhny 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 Wednesday.

Federer's opponent Friday will be defending champion Novak Djokovic, who beat Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-1, 6-4.

Federer has a 14-12 edge against Djokovic, who is ranked No. 1. They've met in Grand Slam semifinals five times in the past two years, with Djokovic winning four of those matches.

They've never played each other at Wimbledon.

"A nice matchup," Federer said.

"I'm looking forward to that," Djokovic said. "It's always a pleasure playing against Roger. Obviously he's a great champion. He has been so dominant and consistent in these Grand Slams, and he's really an ultimate challenge on grass courts."

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Federer had been tied with Jimmy Connors for the most major semifinals. He reached the final four at Wimbledon for the first time since 2009, when he won the title.

Against the No. 26-seeded Youzhny, Federer showed no sign of the back ailment that prompted him to seek treatment during the first set of his previous match. In the second game he converted his fifth break-point chance, and pulled away from there.

A brief rain delay couldn't slow Federer, and neither could Youzhny, who seemed pleased at times just to win a point. Late in the first set, when he hit a running scoop forehand cross-court for a winner, he raised both arms and grinned as the crowd roared.

When Youzhny failed to convert a rare break-point chance in the third set, he let out a primal scream that had fans laughing. The Centre Court audience included Prince William and wife Kate, Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf and Rod Laver, all sitting in the Royal Box.