No. 17 seed Roger Federer moved into the Australian Open semifinals on Tuesday for the 13th time in his career, defeating Germany’s Mischa Zverev 6-1, 7-5, 6-2 to set up a meeting with Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka.
Federer’s astonishing numbers included 65 winners and just 13 unforced errors.
“If someone would have told me I’d play in the semis against Stan, never would I have called that one for me,” Federer said. “For Stan, yes, but not for me. I honestly didn’t even know a few days ago that he was in my section of the draw or I’m in his section.”
Federer ran through a 5-0 lead and the first set, anticipating the net rushing that for Zverev had been so successful against Andy Murray. Against Federer, not so much.
“I like when he puts in a nice volley past me,” Federer said. “I just think it’s a nice play, there’s nothing you can do about it. Then you move on. That’s why maybe I stayed as calm as I did today. Maybe it has helped me, too, in my comeback, no doubt about it.”
In the second set Federer was serving at 4-5, 30-30, but reeled off six straight points to keep the momentum and eventually close out the match.
Wawrinka likewise rolled Tuesday, defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-3, despite taking the court in a state of various taping and bandages.
The Swiss No. 1’s movement seemed to be hampered in the first set as he warmed up, but Tsonga gave him ample time to get adjusted by spraying a number of unforced errors.
“I think the beginning of the match was quite tense from both sides,” Wawrinka said. “We were maybe a little bit looking too much about what the other will do, waiting a little bit the other to do something on the court. But I think condition were not easy. It was quite fast, was a little bit windy, flying a little bit. It was important to serve well.”
An odd incident occurred during the match on a changeover when the players appeared to admonish one another for staring.
“I think you already know it,” Wawrinka said during his post-match conference. “You already know everything. It’s on TV. You for sure heard everything on TV. You heard from Jo. I think there’s not much else to say. As I say, it’s a tennis match. You can have some tension during the match between players. Sometimes it can happen. Most important is that after the match it’s all good.”
Federer said the semifinal with Wawrinka will be familiar territory.
“I think him and Rafa [Nadal] know my best game,” said Federer, who has never lost to Wawrinka on hard courts. “I played him so much. Stan and I practiced so much together. With Rafa, I only practiced once in my life, whereas with Stan, I can’t even keep count anymore. Yeah, I guess those two guys know me very well.”
Wednesday’s quarterfinal action in Melbourne will see (11) David Goffin vs. (15) Grigor Dimitrov, and (9) Rafael Nadal vs. (3) Milos Raonic.
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