In an exciting matchup that pitted two greats against each other, Roger Federer rekindled his dominance over Andy Murray in Grand Slam matches and advanced to his 11th consecutive Australian Open semifinal with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 win Wednesday, January 22.
Battle of the Big Names
Federer clinched the victory on his third match point with an ace to set up a showdown with top-ranked Rafael Nadal, who beat Grigor Dimitrov 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (7), 6-2.
Two of the leading contenders on the men’s side survived on a day when two-time defending champion Victoria Azarenka was knocked out of the tournament 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 by Agnieszka Radwanska in the women’s quarterfinals.
Murray has an 11-10 edge over Federer in head-to-head matches and won their last match in five sets in the Australian Open semifinals last year, but Federer has won four of five matches in majors.
Going Down Swinging
After spending three months off the court following a minor back surgery, the reigning Wimbledon champion Murray was showing a few signs of discomfort at times in the match, clutching at his lower back.
“I was proud of the way I fought,” Murray said. “That’s the highest level I’ve played at in a long time. My serve slowed down a bit in the fourth set, especially the first couple points when I was getting up after the change of ends.”
“I’m back,” Federer said. “It was a great game on many levels, not just physically … but mentally also.”