Roger Federer steamrolled Austrian challenger Dominic Thiem 6-1, 6-4 in one hour Saturday to line up a repeat of his 2015 winning final at the Brisbane International.
For the second year in succession, the 34-year-old Swiss with a record 17 grand slam titles will take on the big serve of Milos Raonic, after the Canadian broke Aussie hearts with his 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5) elimination of Bernard Tomic.
The 11th-ranked Tomic is in line for a possible seeding upgrade at the Australian Open a week from Monday, due to his performance at Brisbane.
Federer, who had looked dodgy to some commentators in his quarter-final win the day before, showed no weakness as he dismantled the game of Thiem, the 20th-ranked winner of his first three career titles last season.
Federer kept his edge in the battle of the tennis generations, beating the 22-year-old to lift his record against players born in the 1990s to 41-3. He will have a chance to add one more win to that list when he faces Raonic, 25.
Federer has now played Brisbane finals in each of his three appearances and is going for the 89th trophy of his career against Raonic, whom he leads 9-1 in their series.
"This was by far my best match of the tournament," Federer said after ending with 19 winners. "I hit the ball very well.
"At the end no one cares who you played at the start as long as you get there in the end. I'm excited to be in the final again. Playing a repeat of last year will be special."
He will have a bit of insider knowledge going into the final, with his new coach Ivan Ljubicic released from team Raonice in November.
A year ago, Federer went three sets to beat Raonic for the title, winning his 1,000 career match. "1,000 wins, it was a privilege to live through that, it was a high-quality match," Federer said.
"I'm happy I've come here three times and each time made the final. This is another great start to the season and I'm very pleased."
Fedeer will not have much time to prepare for the title showdown at the Pat Rafter arena. "The last few days have been busy," he said. "Of course I get to spend time with the family, but I have to think of the final. I want to prepare well."
In the women's final, double Australian Open winner and former number one was playing for her first trophy since 2012 as German fourth seed Angelique Kerber.
Monday, July 4, 2016 - 20:17
Saturday, January 2, 2016 - 11:13