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History either way in final

Roger Federer earns a straight-sets victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for his fifth Australian Open final in the past seven years.

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Roger Federer earns a straight-sets victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for his fifth Australian Open final in the past seven years.

MELBOURNE, Australia — Roger Federer decided the crowd didn't get quite enough value from his semifinal romp over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, so he worked on his comedy routine.

After dismissing his 10th-seeded opponent 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 Friday, Federer looked toward the final and the last obstacle between him and a fourth Australian Open title — Andy Murray.

Murray, as the Scotsman is incessantly reminded, is trying to end a long drought for British men at Grand Slam tournaments when he takes the court Sunday.

"I know he'd like to win the first for British tennis since, what is it 150,000 years?" Federer cracked during his courtside interview. "The poor guy who has to go through those moments over and over again."

Reminded later that the dry spell extended only 74 years, Federer smiled.

"Oh," he said. "I missed it by a little bit."

The last British man to win a major was Fred Perry in 1936. Murray, who beat Marin Cilic in his semifinal a night earlier, is the first British man in the Open era to reach two Grand Slam finals and the first Brit to make it to a championship match in Australia since John Lloyd in 1977.

Federer, winner of a record 15 majors, is playing in his 22nd Slam final. He was relaxed as ever at Rod Laver Arena in dispatching Tsonga in 90 minutes.

Usually, the guy playing Federer has nothing to lose. Federer sees Sunday's final differently. "I (have won a major) before," he said. "I think he really needs (the win) more than I do. So I think the pressure's big on him."

Murray, meanwhile, has managed to shove soccer aside on some sports pages, with the Times of London devoting its last five pages to the Australian Open.

WILLIAMS SISTERS WIN: Venus Williams is a much better doubles partner for her sister Serena than she is a keeper of the score.

The Williams sisters won their fourth Australian doubles title, beating Cara Black and Liezel Huber 6-4, 6-3 Friday.

At the end, Venus couldn't figure out why Serena was so excited about what she thought was game point. And Serena was perplexed why Venus was so subdued on match point. The problem: Venus lost track of the score.

"Yeah, I thought, 'Okay, this is exciting, we defended our title,' " Serena said. "And she was like, 'What's going on?' I'm like, 'The match is over. We're done now.' It was funny."

NADAL OUT: Rafael Nadal will miss up to four weeks with a knee injury that forced him to quit in the third set of his quarterfinal against Murray. The No. 2-ranked Nadal had his right knee assessed in Spain and was advised to rest completely for two weeks, then have two weeks of treatment before playing.

FAN INCIDENT: A fan who jumped onto center court and shook Cilic's hand after the Croatian's loss to Murray will be charged with disrupting proceedings and unauthorized entry. The 22-year-old wearing a Croatia soccer jersey jumped over a barricade, shook Cilic's hand, then waited for guards to escort him off. "I think the fan got excited and he wanted to shake my hand, so … I gave him a present," Cilic, 21, said. "I shook his hand. He was happy."

FAST FACTs

Men's final

No. 1 Roger Federer vs. No. 5 Andy Murray, 3:30 a.m. Sunday TV: live, ESPN2 (repeated at 10 a.m. Sunday)

Women's final

No. 1 Serena Williams played Justine Henin early this morning. See sports.tampabay.com for result.

TV: Repeat, 8 a.m., ESPN2

History either way in final 01/29/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 29, 2010 10:25pm]
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