PARIS (AP) - Top-seeded Roger Federer reached the semifinals of the Paris Masters for the first time by defeating Jurgen Melzer of Austria 6-1, 7-6 (4) on Friday.
Federer, who this week called the Parisian indoor tournament his "worst" Masters, had previously lost three times in the quarterfinals.
"I wouldn't say it's a relief, because a relief is something else, but I'm pleased to be in the semis," Federer said. "I knew it was going to be difficult because in the beginning I only had one hour of practice here. But now I feel good and I'm not too tired."
Andy Roddick lost the serving contest against Robin Soderling, who had 18 aces in the 7-5, 6-4 win.
Following victories in Stockholm and Basel, Federer won a 12th consecutive match and sent winners all over the court during a 20-minute first set that he opened with an ace.
Federer, who had 18 aces and 33 winners overall, will face the winner between No. 3 Andy Murray and Gael Monfils of France.
Melzer showed a better game in the second set but missed an easy forehand volley in the tiebreak to give Federer a 5-4 lead. The 16-time Grand Slam winner set up match point with an ace and converted it with a service winner.
"I thought I played a wonderful first set, being aggressive on returns, serving really good," Federer said.
Soderling will play Michael Llodra after the Frenchman defeated Nikolay Davydenko 7-5, 6-1.
Soderling got off to a strong start on the fast center court, losing just one point on his first serve in the first 10 games.
"Against Andy, it's always just a matter of taking the chances you get," the Swede said. "I served pretty well. I could have put some more first serves in, but my second serve was good and overall it was a good match."
Roddick struggled to return Soderling's big serve and failed to convert the only two break chances he had. Soderling broke Roddick for a 6-5 lead when the American buried a backhand into the net and threw his racket in anger. Roddick won a 39-shot rally that gave him a break point in the next game, but Soderling saved it with a cross-court forehand winner and celebrated with a fist pump.
The two-time French Open runner-up broke again in the first game of the second set and served out the match at love with an ace. Roddick finished with 15 aces.
Roddick said he might have lost his focus after qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals in London on Thursday. Soderling also qualified for the season-ending tournament on Nov. 21.
"The last two weeks you're kind on pins and needles trying to qualify for this thing, and it might have been a little bit of mental letdown today, which is completely on me," Roddick said. "That's my fault. I should be professional enough not to have that."
Llodra, the only unseeded player remaining, had never advanced beyond the second round at Bercy. But after upsetting defending champion Novak Djokovic on Thursday, he made the most of the fast surface that suits his serve and volley style.
Llodra and Davydenko traded breaks in the first set before the Frenchman won seven consecutive games for a 7-5, 5-0 lead.
Cheered by his son and French Davis Cup captain Guy Forget in the stands, Llodra produced 30 winners and sealed the victory with a service winner on his second match point.
"It will be tough against Soderling," he said. "He is a great indoor specialist and he is full of confidence."