PARIS (AP) Roger Federer lost three of his first four service games Wednesday, causing a stir among French Open fans but only briefly delaying his progress to the semifinals.
The top-ranked Federer rallied to defeat Fernando Gonzalez 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 and reach the final four at his 16th consecutive Grand Slam event.
"It's always a great pleasure being in the last four," Federer said. "It's really where it gets most interesting."
Seeking the only major title he has yet to win, Federer next will face unseeded Frenchman Gael Monfils, who delighted a capacity crowd on center court by beating No. 5-seeded David Ferrer 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. No. 2 Rafael Nadal, the three-time defending champion, will play No. 3 Novak Djokovic in the other semifinal Friday.
By this week's standards at Roland Garros, Federer's comeback against Gonzalez was modest. Dinara Safina came within a point of defeat for the second consecutive match but made the semifinals by beating fellow Russian Elena Dementieva 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-0.
The semifinal berth is the first in a major tournament for Safina, the younger sister of two-time Grand Slam champion Marat Safin. Her latest rally was remarkably similar to the one she mounted against top-ranked Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.