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Federer going sixth title of the year

HAMBURG, Germany -- Roger Federer is eager to play Richard
Gasquet in the Hamburg Masters final.

Both advanced to the title match after easy semifinal victories Saturday: the top-ranked Federer beat Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-4, while Gasquet eliminated fellow qualifier Christophe Rochus 6-1, 6-1.

Gasquet is one of two men to beat Federer in the last eight months, when he upset the Swiss star last month in the
quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters.

"I am definitely looking forward to a second chance to get him," Federer said of Sunday's final. "I have more ideas now how to approach the match."

Federer, going for his sixth title of the year and third Hamburg championship in four years, improved his record for the year to 40-2. Going back to the beginning of last year's U.S. Open, Federer is 56-2. His only other loss came to Marat Safin in the semifinals of the Australian Open.

The 18-year-old Gasquet hopes to notch another surprising victory.

"It's incredible for me to reach the final and to be playing Federer," Gasquet said. "He's got the experience of so many finals but I won't have any pressure."

Federer had a slow start against the 15th-seeded Davydenko in this major tuneup for the French Open, falling behind 2-0 and facing a break point in the third game.

He held serve, however, and used a sloppy game by Davydenko to break back.

"I was a little hectic in the beginning, had he broken for 3-0 it could have been problematic," Federer said. "But I held serve and found my rhythm."

Federer broke Davydenko again in the sixth game to go up for good in the opening set.

In the second, he went up 2-1 and never looked back.

Federer saved two break points with big service winners and held for 5-3. A forehand winner gave him the match and a 6-0 record against Davydenko.

"I am very happy to be in the position of defending my title," Federer said. "I am looking forward to the final. Qualifiers can be dangerous, but looking at my record makes me confident."

Federer has won an Open era record 18 consecutive finals he has played since October 2003.

Next up is Gasquet, who made it to the semifinals in Monte Carlo after his upset of Federer, when he saved three match points.

"I hope it's not going to happen again. He's a very all-around player, very similar to me. He hits winners from both sides," Federer said.