Roger Federer earned his 20th win over Tomas Berdych Wednesday night in the Australian Open quarterfinals with a 7-6(1), 6-3, 6-4 victory.
It wasn’t easy early as Berdych grabbed an early break for 3-0 but he couldn’t serve it out. Federer saved two set points and confidently took the breaker and effectively the match.
A dismayed Berdych didn’t mount much of a test after that. The pair exchanged three straight breaks early in the third, but Federer got the better of it.
“I just tried to hang around, tried to play a bit more aggressive, get some rhythm going, because Tomas found that early,” Federer said. “That’s why I was under pressure. It was definitely very close, the turning point, and it ended up being for the entire match.
“I played a great breaker. Got off to a good start there. But coming back from 5-2 in the first set, it was clearly big tonight.”
Federer improved to 20-6 against the Czech winning nine straight including three straight years in Australia. He finished with 61 winners and 15 aces.
“It was a good start,” said Berdych. “I had a good chances, a couple set points. Then, you know, I think he just get more confident after he saved the first set. Then it was very difficult with him again. After having been basically a whole set down, it gives you a lot of boost. Especially with him, I think it was just the deciding thing.”
Federer advanced to his 14th Australian Open semifinals and 43rd overall Slam, and on Friday he’ll face first-time Slam semifinal Hyeon Chung.
The 21-year-old Chung won the battle of improbable quarterfinals Wednesday at the Australian Open ending the run of Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-3. Chung moves on to his first career Grand Slam final, and he’s the first Korean man or woman to make it this far at a Slam.
“I’m really surprised because I really don’t know,” Chung said. “I make semis, I beat like Sascha, Novak, the other good players. I never playing in second week in Grand Slam, so I’m really surprised.”
The 58th-ranked Chung will rise into the Top 30 already. And he becomes the first of this younger generation to make a Slam semifinal.
Sandgren, who’s been a lightning rod of controversy off court for social media posts, held a break lead in the second then forced Chung in the third to win it on his sixth match point.
“He’s a fantastic player,” the 26-year-old Sandgren said. “This is the second time I played him now in two weeks. It’s fun. It’s such a fun challenge because he does so many cool things with how he moves and how he returns and how he plays with his forehand.
“So it was kind of like an extremely difficult puzzle to try to figure out. I wasn’t able to figure it out, but I enjoyed trying.”
Federer said he was looking forward to facing Chung.
“I’m very excited to play Chung,” Federer said. “I thought he played an incredible match against Novak. I mean, to beat him here is one of the tough things to do in our sport, I believe. I know that Novak maybe wasn’t at 110%, but he was all right. He was giving it a fight till the very end. To close it out, that was mighty impressive.”
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