Federer sweeps into Australian Open final

By Julian Linden

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Roger Federer provided a masterful demonstration of his incredible talent and hunger to win to overwhelm Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2 6-3 6-2 Friday and join Andy Murray in the final of the Australian Open.

The world number one was at his brilliant best as he outclassed his French opponent to wrap up a lop-sided victory in under an one hour and a half at Melbourne Park.

Murray has been the form player over the past fortnight but Federer's imperious display will give the Scotsman a couple of sleepless nights before Sunday's final.

"I know he'd like to win the first for British tennis in... what is it ... like 150,000 years?" Federer joked in a courtside interview.

"The poor guy has to go through those moments over and over again. He's done tremendously. We match up well. I'm looking forward to the final."

Federer has already won the Australian Open three times, in 2004, 2006 and 2007, and is now through to his fifth final after losing an epic five-set clash with Rafa Nadal last year.

The Swiss is also through to his 22nd grand slam final, more than any other man in history, and his eighth in a row. A victory over Murray will provide the 28-year-old with his 16th grand slam, extending yet another record he holds.

Federer, growing in confidence with every match after a slow start to the championship, showed no mercy against a weary Tsonga, who had won his two previous matches in five sets.

MENTALLY TIRED

"I thought he did really well in those five set matches and I expected him to come out here and be really athletic the way we know him," a relaxed Federer said.

"Maybe he was mentally more fatigued than physically."

Federer shows no sign of slowing down despite his haul of major trophies.

He broke Tsonga's erratic serve once to win the opening set then twice more in each of the next two while comfortably holding each of his service games.

Tsonga, who reached the Australian Open final two years ago but has yet to win a grand slam, did not get a single break point on the Swiss master's serve.

"I'm very happy. You've always got to deal with how your opponent plays. Sometimes he plays like you want, sometimes not," Federer said.

"It's nice going through like this but I already know the next match won't be this way."

Earlier, Serena Williams warmed up for her singles final against Justine Henin Saturday by teaming up with her sister Venus Williams to successfully defend their doubles crown.

(Editing by Alastair Himmer)