Roger Federer rolled back the years in delivering an absolutely scintillating performance in demolishing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 to make it to his 18th Grand Slam final in the last 19 events.
Federer broke Tsonga in the 6th game of the first set to take the lead and broke again in the final game as he gave away just five unforced errors. The second set followed the same pattern as Rog broke the Frenchman in the 6th game of the set and an outrageous forehand down the line helped him consolidate his break for a 5-2 lead. Two games later and it was two sets to love for the Swiss champion in under an hour.
Federer was like a sniper in this semi-final, going for the kill at every opportunity, and displaying the grace of a gazelle in all of his lethal execution. And it didn't take him long in the third set to gain the upper hand. Federer produced a glorious backhand overhead volley and three points later he had broken the beleagured Tsonga again and the end was drawing rapidly near.
A Tsonga double fault gave Federer a double break in his next service game and the Swiss marched into a 5-1 lead, shortly wrapping up the match in under an hour and a half.
There was a reverential silence around the Rod Laver arena as this champion utilised all of his skills to the utter detriment of Tsonga who looked on helplessly as the spectators sat in awe. The biggest gasp came when Federer shanked a forehand in the third set. Even the commentators were at a loss for words. "I wonder who'll change the nappies tonight?" was the best Alan Wilkins came up with. And after yet another glorious winner from Federer's racquet, Vijay Amritraj apologised, "I'm sorry to be gasping so much, because I don't have any more words to say! It's just a gasp."
Having taught Tsonga a severe lesson on the court, the great Swiss master then taught him a valuable lesson off court by humbly waiting for the Frenchman to gather his belongings so they could walk off the court together, shoulder to shoulder in equality. This big-headed, arrogant Frenchman could do with taking note as he usually takes no thought for his opponent, being too occupied with promoting himself by pointing to his back whilst jumping around the court like some jack-in-a-box. I'm grateful that I didn't have to bear watching that awful celebration again.
Federer's post-match interview was just as colourful as his on-court display. He was clearly delighted to have won this match so convincingly and smiled vividly as he related his best memories of 2009 and his analysis of Sunday's final with Murray. He had the crowd in stitches when, asked by Jim Courier about Andy Murray's Grand Slam hopes, he wiggled his hands mockingly in the air and said,"He'd like to win the first for British tennis in what is it, a hundred and fifty thousand years?!"
This semi-final demolition job was a clear message to Andy Murray to remind him of the task that awaits him in Sunday's final. For Federer is no mood to be lenient when it comes to Grand Slam finals.