Defending champion Roger Federer marched into the Wimbledon semi-finals yesterday and declared: "If I keep playing like this I can beat anyone."
The Swiss superstar despatched Chilean big-hitter Fernando Gonzalez in straight sets 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 to set up a final-four showdown with Lleyton Hewitt, the world No 2.
Second seed Andy Roddick came through in five sets against Sebastien Grosjean and now meets Sweden's Thomas Johansson in the other semi-final.
Federer, aged 23, has beaten Hewitt in their last seven meetings and after admitting to nerves during the quarter-final, he seemed confident in the extreme afterwards.
"For the whole match I was tense and the danger of the opponent is always there, but I was very satisfied with the way I played," he said.
"I think if I keep on playing like this I can beat any player at this level.
"Against [Juan Carlos] Ferrero [in the fourth round] it was tough too but both times I have won in straight sets and that gives me confidence."
Top seed Federer had too much class and variety of shot for Gonzalez, who who was playing his first Wimbledon quarter-final.
Gonzalez, the No 21 seed, has a big serve and a stunning forehand and is an exciting player to watch. But he is also prone to wild unforced errors and no player can afford to see points haemorrhage against Federer, certainly not one who had lost all four of their previous meetings.
As it was, Federer broke the Gonzalez serve in the fourth game of the match, courtesy of a double fault from the Chilean.
And while Gonzalez broke back in the seventh game with a flurry of the spectacular forehands, the champion demonstrated his superior class at deuce on the Gonzalez serve in the 12th game.
A Gonzalez drop shot might have been a winner against most opponents, but Federer conjured a deft flick at an acute angle for an improbable winner to give him set point.
Champions are made of such brilliance and Federer not only took the set but cantered through the next one.
A thrilling third set might have gone either way and the tension building inside Federer was apparent in the ninth game when he let out a roar of exasperation when a close call went against him.
But from then on if anything his level went up another notch as the set went to a tie-breaker which Federer took 7-2.
Hewitt also reached the semi-finals in three sets, knocking out Spain's Feliciano Lopez 7-5, 6-4, 7-6, but is steeling himself for a tough examination against the world No 1.
"He is obviously the best player in the world for a reason," said Hewitt. "He has really taken his game to another level in the last couple of years.
"Obviously I've lost to him the last couple of years, the last seven times, but it's all been in the last two years or so when he's really dominated pretty much everyone."
The Australian, seeded third at the Championships, was pleased with his day's work against the powerful Lopez.
"I felt like I played pretty well all around today," Hewitt added.
"My whole game came together well. He is a dangerous opponent, especially on this surface with a big lefty serve. I had to try to dictate play as much as possible and I was able to do that."
Roddick ground out a tense 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Grosjean after two hours 45 minutes on Centre Court to remain on course for a repeat of last year's final against Federer.
"I came in here losing a string of five setters in Grand Slams so to pull two out, especially against a player like Sebastien, really means a lot," said Roddick, who blew a two-set lead to crash out of the French Open in the second round recently.
"He was coming up with the goods. I let it slip a little in the fourth set and he normally makes you pay for that but I was able to slime out a game on his serve and hold on to my own."
Johansson, the 12th seed, will be Roddick's opponent after he beat David Nalbandian in straight sets.
The Argentinian, who eliminated Britain's Andy Murray in a five-set thriller in the third round on Saturday, lost the first set in a tie-break 7-5 before winning just four games in the last two sets as the Swede's powerful groundstrokes wore him down.
Johansson becomes the first Swede to get through to the semi-finals at the All England Club since Stefan Edberg in 1993.