Federer and Hewitt in semi-final showdown

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Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt, who have monopolised the Wimbledon title in the last three years, will clash in semi-final showdown…

The match-up will be the latest in a long-running series of bruising encounters stretching back to 1999 and featuring 16 clashes with double defending champion Federer ahead 9-7.

Federer, the Wimbledon winner in 2003 and 2004, reached the semi-finals by racking up a 34th successive grasscourt win courtesy of a 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) win against Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez.

Hewitt, the 2002 champion, booked his place in his second career Wimbledon semi-final seeing off Spain’s Feliciano Lopez 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).

The other semi-final will feature American second seed Andy Roddick, the 2004 runner-up, against 2002 Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson.

Roddick beat French ninth seed Sebastien Grosjean 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 while Johansson, the 12th seeded Swede, defeated 2002 runner-up David Nalbandian of Argentina 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 6-2.

"I played a great match today," said Federer who hasn’t lost to Hewitt since a 2003 Davis Cup tie where the Australian came back from a two-set deficit.

"It’s my third semi-final in a row and Wimbledon has been good to me so far."

Federer beat Hewitt here in the quarter-finals in 2004 but the third-seeded Australian is relishing renewing his rivalry with the Swiss world number one.

"It’s great to reach my second semi-final here. The last time I went on to win the tournament so hopefully that’s a good omen," said Hewitt.

"It will be a tough match against Federer, he’s the world number one, it will be like a final. I’ll play my game and see what happens."

The 24-year-old Gonzalez, the first Chilean to reach the last eight here since Ricardo Acuna in 1985, came into his third appearance in a Grand Slam quarter-final as the only player in the tournament not to have dropped a set in the four previous rounds.

But he struggled throughout to impose himself on Federer against whom he had never won.

Hewitt kept the lid on his volcanic temper to beat Lopez, the first Spaniard to make the last eight since 1972.

Meanwhile, Roddick held his nerve and produced a commanding fifth set to see off the brave challenge of Grosjean.

After an edgy start, the 22-year-old Roddick settled down and produced some of his best tennis of the tournament to move within one match of having another crack at the Swiss star’s crown.

"I came into Wimbledon having lost a string of five setters so to pull it out like that means a lot," he said.

"He was coming up with the goods and I let it slip in the fourth, but I was able to hold on to my nerve in the fifth set."

Johansson, the oldest man in the last four at 30, shrugged off his injury-hit past to become the first Swedish man for 12 years to reach the semi-finals when he comfortably saw off Nalbandian, the 2002 runner-up.

Johansson missed the entire 2003 campaign following knee surgery but has clawed his way back in style to follow in the footsteps of compatriot, and former double Wimbledon champion, Stefan Edberg who was the last Swede to make the last four in 1993.

"This is one of the best weeks of my life," said the Swede. "This is the biggest tournament of the year and it has a great history.

"I really feel I have a chance against Andy. I’m happy to have played as well as I have so far and on Friday I hope I can play even better."