Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will rekindle their rivalry in the Australian Open semifinals after quarterfinal wins in Melbourne on Tuesday.
Federer reached the semis for an eighth straight year after beating fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-3, 6-3.
“I play Stan obviously very different to what [Andy] Roddick or [Gael] Monfils or what other players might do against him,” Federer said. “Clearly it’s not an easy match for him also. I’ve been in so many quarterfinals, in this situation so many times before, that I have the experience and I have the game to be tricky for him.”
Federer was especially tricky, often reaching into the “toy chest” in the third set, creating nonchalant points that looked like exhibition tennis.
“The scoreline suggests maybe it was easier than it looked like,” Federer said. “I thought it was a pretty tough match. He really got into the match, especially in the second set, but I was able to mix it up well and just keep him on his toes.”
The 29-year-old Federer is attempting to become the first player in Open Era history to win five Australian Open titles.
Djokovic beat No. 6-seeded Tomas Berdych on Tuesday 6-1, 7-6(5), 6-1 to improve to 5-0 against the Czech on hardcourt.
“I have to be very happy with the performance,” the Djoker said. “Maybe the turning point was the tiebreak in the second set where it went my way. If it’s one-set all, it’s a totally different match. Two sets up, it’s a big advantage and I was starting to go for shots more in the third. I was physically prepared, mentally motivated to some success. So far it’s been great. Today has been a real test. I have nothing to lose playing Federer, who’s the title defender here. We all know everything about him. I have to believe in myself in order to win that match.”
Berdych was up a break in the second set but could never set the tone against the Serb.
“I can be disappointed with the second set,” Berdych said. “I took over a little bit and was playing well. Then, just lost the set very close in the tiebreak where was also a bit lucky. The other two sets he was dominating and he was playing really well today.”
Federer leads Djokovic 13-6 in their career head-to-head meetings, but Djokovic beat the Swiss en route to the 2008 Australian Open title.
Wednesday quarterfinal action in Melbourne will see (1) Rafael Nadal vs. (7) David Ferrer in an all-Spanish clash, and (5) Andy Murray vs. the Soderling-killer Alexandr Dolgopolov.
On the women’s side Tuesday, world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and China’s Li Na advanced to a semifinals meeting.
Wozniacki needed to come back from a set down against the reigning French Open winner Francesca Schiavone, who ran out of gas in a fighting effort 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Schiavone has previously outlasted Svetlana Kuznetsova 16-14 in the third in an almost five-hour draining encounter.
“I’m a little bit disappointed. It’s normal,” Schiavone said. “I always want something more, particularly when I have my chances. I want to catch it. But I’m positive about the rest. I can keep going, keep improving and do more.”
Wozniacki prevailed by staying with her never-miss strategy of consistency and timely net approaches.
“It was very difficult. Francesca was playing well,” Wozniacki said. “I just thought, ‘Take one ball at a time and don’t give up.’ That’s what happens sometimes in tennis. You just need to stay focused. Today everything went in my favor afterwards and I’m happy to sit here as the winner.”
By reaching her first Australian Open semifinal, Wozniacki also secures the No. 1 ranking for the tournament from trailing No. 2 Vera Zvonareva.
Schiavone will move to No. 4 after the tournament.
“I’ve worked hard to arrive here, so I’m very happy,” Schiavone said. “I want to keep going, but step by step. I never fly, so just one step. I have 10 years more.”
The No. 9-seeded Li improved to 10-0 in 2011, beating No. 30 seed Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-4.
“Two days ago I wanted to see how Andrea played against Maria [Sharapova], but Kuzy and Schiavone were playing and TV didn’t show much of the other match,” Li said. “It was tough. I only practiced with Andrea one time last year. So, at the beginning of the match, I was a little bit nervous. But I played well today.”
The 28-year-old Li also reached the semis last year, losing to Serena Williams.
Petkovic was playing in her first career Slam quarterfinal.
“I think she played really well. I think she’s going to win the tournament,” Petkovic said. “It’s just the feeling, how she is on the court, her confidence and the way she’s playing. I feel she has a great chance to win the tournament. Sometimes you get the feeling during the match that somebody is really strong and just has that confidence going on, that aura maybe.”
On the court in Wednesday quarterfinal action will be (25) Petra Kvitova vs. (2) Vera Zvonareva, and (12) Agnieszka Radwanska vs. (3) Kim Clijsters.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Novak Djokovic has only lost one set, and that was by 10-8 in a break…Roger Federer has won 15 straight matches…Caroline Wozniacki will remain the No. 1 ranked player after the Australian Open…Novak Djokovic has won four straight over Tomas Berdych since losing to the Czech in the Wimbledon semifinals…Li Na has reached her second straight Australian Open semifinal. She has not lost a set…Andy Murray has only lost 22 games… Kim Clijsters has won 11 straight Grand Slam matches…Petra Kvitova is trying to reach her second Slam semifinal…The Australian Open will crown a new women’s champion this year…David Ferrer has won 9 straight matches…Roger Federer has now reached the semifinals at the Australian Open eight straight years…Caroline Wozniacki was presented with a inflatable kangaroo at the start of her press conference.
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