Base l(Switzerland) Oct 27: Roger Federer enjoyed a routine 6-3 6-2 win over Germany's Nicolas Kiefer to reach the semi-finals of his hometown tournament in Basel.
Federer, who is defending last year's Swiss Indoors title, will meet towering Croatian Ivo Karlovic in the last four after the tour's tallest man ground down Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych 6-7 7-6 7-6 yesterday.
The other semi-final will be contested by unseeded pair Jarkko Nieminen and Marcos Baghdatis.
Nieminen, the Finnish world number 29, pulled off a 6-3 7-5 win over Chilean second seed Fernando Gonzalez while Cypriot world number 24 Baghdatis downed French eighth seed Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2 7-6.
Federer made an emphatic start, breaking Kiefer's first service game to take an early 3-0 lead.
The German world number 64 put up some stiff resistance, breaking back to 3-2 with a brave run into the net.
But Federer replied in his usual fashion, regaining his advantage on Kiefer's next service game with a perfectly struck passing shot from deep behind the baseline.
The second set followed a similar pattern with Federer breaking ahead in the opening game.
Kiefer, who had lost his last eight meetings with Federer, grabbed three break points off Federer's next two service games but failed to convert any.
The Swiss had no such difficulty when Kiefer next came to serve, winning three break points with a beautifully disguised drop shot and successfully converting the first with a fierce forehand winner.
''I was playing pretty solidly from the baseline and I hope I can continue that way for the rest of the week,'' Federer said after winning the final game to love.
Federer holds a 3-0 lead over Karlovic but is still likely to find the going tough against the hard-serving Croatian.
Six of the eight sets in those three matches have gone to tie-breaks with Karlovic's powerful serve notoriously hard to reach let alone break.
The world number 25 used his best weapon ruthlessly, hitting 38 aces past Berdych before winning their deciding tie-break 15-13 yesterday.
''I will just try my best to concentrate on my own serve,'' Federer said when asked about the challenge of facing the 2.08-metre tall Karlovic.
''I do that against any player but it's even more important against him because you just want to stay with him and not fall behind.'' Nieminen and Baghdatis will both be looking to improve on disappointing seasons when they square off today.
The Finnish world number 29 reached a career-high ranking of 13th last season but has slipped back after making just two previous semi-finals, and losing both, on this year's tour.
Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open runner-up, made a bright start to the season, winning his second career title in Zagreb in February and reaching the Marseille final two weeks later. He lost another final in Halle in July.