Federer Survives Tennys Test, Djokovic Next; Nadal v Thiem In QF
by Staff | January 28th, 2020, 8:10 am

Roger Federer pulled out a “miracle” in his quarterfinal win over Tennys Sandgren at the Australian Open. Dealing with a groin injury, Federer came from 2-1 down in sets and saved seven match points to deny the upset-minded American 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6(8), 6-3.

Federer was a heavy favorite entering the match against the world No. 100, and after a comfortable first set, all looked in order for the six-time champion. But Sandgren got a break in the second — at which time Federer later said he felt pain in his groin — and held on to level a set apiece.

In the third, struggling with his serve and movement, Federer went down 3-0 and after receiving a warning for swearing, the 38-year-old left the court for a medical timeout.

Upon return, the treatment made no difference as Federer’s struggles continued allowing Sandgren to swiftly take the third.

Federer started to play a little better in the fourth, but serving 4-5 Federer faced three match points, yet somehow escaped and Sandgren missed an open backhand down the line that, if he connected, would have ended the match.

In the ensuing breaker, Sandgren got up 6-3 but again fell short of closing. He would miss one more before Federer forced a fifth set, his second of the event.

And with Federer now back in form and Sandgren ruing those blown chances, Federer cruised to his sixth straight five set win in Australia.

“You’ve got to get lucky sometimes,” Federer told the crowd. “I was just hoping that maybe he wasn’t going to smash a winner, if he misses one or two, who knows what’s going to happen? I think I got incredibly lucky today.

“As the match went on, I started to feel better and just tried to play. I believe in miracles. There could be rain.

“Just let him finish me off in style, and he didn’t do that. I’m still standing here and obviously just very happy.”

Sandgren credited Federer for rising up to the challenge.

“Obviously, he played them well,” said Sandgren said of the match points. “I could have played them better. I’ve run through them a bunch of times. He was aggressive on one, passive on a few, came in on one, could have put the volley in a different spot.

“He read it well, hit two good passes. Put me in an awkward spot on the last one I had. Missed the approach. He probably would have passed me anyway. It was in a bad spot. All credit to him for sure.

“Once he could see the finish line being a real thing, I thought his level picked up, as my level was maybe decreasing a little bit. I did think he picked his level up a little bit in the fifth set, which is to be expected.

“When you survive that many times, you can’t give a good player, let alone maybe the best player ever, that many chances to come back. They’re going to find their game and start playing well. That seemed to me what happened.”

Federer will now have to deal with his groin and Novak Djokovic who eased past Milos Raonic.

“I don’t know if you can call it an injury. It’s just pain and problems. I need to figure it out now,” said Federer.

“But as it’s not like in 18 hours, like you got a third round to play, semifinals, you have an extra day, adrenaline, there’s a lot of things. Two good nights of sleep, doctors, physios.

“Hopefully we’ll find out that it’s actually nothing bad, that it was just the groin that went really tight from playing a lot, who knows what, from nerves.

“I don’t know. I’m hopeful. We’ll find out tonight, tomorrow. The next day we’ll see how it goes.”

Djokovic has been in dominant form having now won his last 12 matches in Melbourne. Tuesday night, he stopped Raonic’s serve to beat the Canadian in straight sets 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(1).

“I felt great on the court. I thought I was very focused,” Djokovic told the crowd. “The first couple sets went exactly how I wanted them to go. I was quite comfortable serving. Playing Milos, I knew the two key elements would be the return and how efficiently I hit my spots with the serve.’

The Serb, who has never lost once he reaches Melbourne’s last four, was irritated late in the match by some contact lens issues, but otherwise was untroubled as he ran his record to 10-0 against Raonic (24 of 26 sets).

“I want to apologize to Milos once again it was not something that you see often,” Djokovic said of leaving the court in the third set. “I to apologize to the crowd as well. It was not intentional or tactical. It was just something that I had to do because those few games I really couldn’t see much and I had to change my lenses.

He now looks ahead to a showdown with Federer.

“Obviously, tremendous respect for Roger and everything he has achieved in the sport. He’s one of the all-time greats and definitely one of my two biggest rivals. I’ve said this many times, the matchups against Roger and Rafa have made me the player I am today.”

On Wednesday, Alexander Zverev will try to keep his good run going and reach his first Slam semifinal against 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka. The German has won both meetings with Wawrinka.

In the evening, Rafael Nadal will battle Dominic Thiem. Nadal leads 9-4 including wins in the last two French Open finals. But Thiem took Rafa to five in a thrilling 2018 US Open quarter.

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48 Comments for Federer Survives Tennys Test, Djokovic Next; Nadal v Thiem In QF

Daniel Says:

Wow! Me and my mouth: “no way Sandgreen beats Fed”. He almost and should have done it😱

Somethung is definetly off with Roger fitness wise, his serve speed dropped and few aces last 2 rounds.

Can not see him recovering in time for Djoko. If he loses 1st than match is just formaluty and he will focus on not maling it look bad as that spanking he was getting a few years ago when he was able to steal a set.

Also potential #1 shift on the line tonight, if Nadal loses to Thiem and Djoko wins the title he will be back to #1 come monday.

If Nadal reaches semis ranking won’t change.

Djoko dealt once again wih Raonic serve.
He is 2 matches away from 8th AO and potentially beating the 2 legends back to back in a Slam as USO 2011 sending a clear message for a year that he can achieve even more.

RZ Says:

I’m glad Fed pulled out the win. I only saw the 4th set but it was impressive to see Fed go to a Plan B and start using his variety to stay in the game and force errors from Sandgren. (I could also tell that the painkillers started kicking in)

@Daniel – Fed had said before the match that he thought Sandgren should be top 20. And really if he keeps up his strong play, he could be. But the guy can be another headcase at times. I saw him play against Mannarino at IW last year and he melted down because Mannarino was getting everything back. Sandgren was complaining out loud about not being able to get a ball past him. That didn’t seem to be a smart move to me, as it would have just given Mannarino confidence. Plus shows there is no Plan B (maybe there is now).

Dave Says:

I noticed the physical issues even in the last match against Fucsovic even when Federer was winning the last 3 sets. In the Millman match as well as the match last night. All 3 matches Federer made so much noise more consistently during the rallies, which totally isn’t Federer’s style. He is quiet most of the time. Daniel, I had a feeling that Sandgren was going to win before the match. Was almost right.

Daniel Says:

Yeah RZ, that’s why I mention a few days ago I could not see him beating Fed in a Slam QF, due to him and Foggy being menatly fragile players.

Fed was carrying some sort of disconfort jeoperdyzing his mobility and serve, hence Sandrgeen almost got it done. It was a bunch of MPs, but I believe just 1 was on his serve in tiebreak, serving 6-5.

Also, Fed won more 2nd serve points in Sandgreen serve even with a below his standard play. On paper that match should have been way easier.

The only positive for Federer is he is “battle tested”, played long rallyes in last matches and was able to find a way. Djoko is a different level, but should Fed’s serve click and he conserve some energy duirng games and play quick sets, he may make it conpetitive. But if he continue the same display and Djoko raise his level, (which we saw before in last 2 rounds in Slams), he can win in easy straight sets.

The problem is I don’t see any scenario where Federer wins like their last WTF match. Either he loses fighting, loses ugly or win fighting again in another 3+ match, whoich will have him in finals pretty wasted. Just can not see him blowing Djoko off, not on a night session in these courts, with Djoko playing the way he is.
But, for final he will have 2 full day rest and the other semis could be a long battle: Nadal x Wawa, Nadal x Zverev, Thiem x Wawa or Thiem Zverev

Old School Says:

The Australian Open is unique among the majors, being the first on the calendar the players are relatively healthy and rested the level, the courts are fast and if the weather and climate are cooperating the tennis can be extraordinary.

It’s a little troublesome to see Rodger struggling with a groin so early in the season.

Novak Dominic Rafa Simona and Im sure a few others are capitalizing on the unique set of circumstances: good health good weather well rested. Some great collisions will produce some great tennis.

RZ Says:

There’s no way Fed should win against Djokovic…but having saved so many match points may make him go for broke and not play conservatively. I guess it will come down to how his body holds up. (I’m still picking Djokovic to win the match).

On another note, I could see Thiem winning this tournament. Why? Because he has that bad blond frosting going on and the photos of his first slam win with that terrible hair would be shown for years to come. 😂

Truth Says:

Novak is the GOAT wih medioce tennis for almost a year!!🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣😩💋💋💋

Frauderror had to “figure out” the ballbashing master choke artist Tennys. What happened to his whining about losing match points? LMAO
The whining & fake pain were less entertaining than Fognini’s creepy clown show.
The old age excuse was used 10 years ago too. They say Fred had an easy game but we all saw that his ball bashing serve bot game caused tremendous stress emotionally & physically for many years,

FedExpress Says:

Yep the court is damn slow which is a disgrace. This whole surface and speed changing is complete bullocks. Let it be a constant in one tournament and dont change it year after year.

Nits Says:

Quite interested in result of Wawrinka Zverev. Away from spotlight both had a good AO.

Madmax Says:


What an amazing pull back from his opponent. I did not get to see the match, but reading the comments, Daniel, your first post , and RZ- I got the gist.

Listen. Ultimately, he has made it to the SFs, like you said, he shouldn’t have – but why not? He pulled out the win and he deserves this. He has fought from start to finish. It’s unbelievable.

Battle tested is the word.

It’s the recovery time now. There is time, but equally – let’s see if the physios and his team can get him on track for a match to come against the great Novak.

Think about this. Still, all these years later, we have Novak/Rafa/Roger, as the men to beat – that is just incredible everyone.

Come on Fed!

chrisford1 Says:

For a while we assumed Fed would be in at the end, then Fed and Rafa, then Fed Rafa and NOle. Then those 3 plus Andy. Then the Big 4 became the Big 3 again as injury took it’s toll on Murray, but not before Andy became the only one besides those guys to be #1 since 2003.

Now I just don’t think we can assume the “inevitability” of two or all three there at the end much longer.

Welcome to Federer vs Djokovic, the 50th edition.
The second closest, second most played rivalry in the ATP’s history.

Wog Boy Says:

Pretty good match by Nole, clean and tidy.

Stan is in trouble 1:2 and 2 breaks down in fourth, completely opposite of what I’ve seen against Medvedev.

Mira pajic Says:

Hopefully Rafa beats Thiem and go to final as Novak is alweys very focused against him in big matches,more likely Novak will struggle against Thiem or Wawrinka,wogboy sta si se ucutao I usrao ahaha ma samo te trolujem me boj se necu te tuci Ali nebi imao nista protiv da ti jebem zenu

Dave Says:

Wow. I went to bed after Stan was up 5-0 in the first. And I just saw the highlights. I could have never guessed that he would get totally beaten after that. Wow.

Dave Says:

Wog Boy,

Was Zverev that good? Or did Stan totally drop off? The highlights were pretty limited so I could tell. I just noticed Zverev definitely upped the aggression after the first set.

Wog Boy Says:

Dave, it was bit of both, Zverev upped his game, but that wouldn’t be enough if Stan hasn’t ran out of gas on a hot day, after two five setters and one four, he had no gas left in his tank. It was obvious that he was running on smell of an oily rag.

Watching now Rafa/Thiem, Thiem is scary good.

Dave Says:

He is scary good. But Rafa should have won the first set from 5-3 40-30. Thanks for the update. I think Zverev has surprised everyone so far.

FedExpress Says:

Rafa got a time violation.

Also said puta madre but umpire did nothing

Wog Boy Says:

This match is slipping out of Rafa’s hands, he desperately needs to win this set, but I don’t see him winning this set nor the match.
It would be different story if he bagged first set as he was supposed to do so.

Daniel Says:

Nadal pissed because chair umpire applied the rule over a tine violation with the shot clock after a long point. Because now he has to watch over all his points to not lose a point. Its bad ti play by the rules no?! Complain with organizer.

That is something I was always agaisnt him, he was only able to play all those “magnificent” long points because he could “rest” at will between them. If he has to play by the rulebook pace, he can’t.

That is the beauth of the shot clock, the evidence is there. And he was going to the limite and serving when the clock was 0 several times before today.

Daniel Says:

Zverev said he will donate all hi prize money should he win the title. Maybe its the law of abundance playing a hole here😜

Dave Says:

Nadal not playing well in the big moments of this match. Missing volleys and forehands he wouldn’t normally miss. Thiem with his new style is becoming a match up problem for Nadal. There is definitely a shift happening. Let’s see if Nadal can take a set at least.

Daniel Says:

Thiem can do it in 3, but he has to avoid getting broken first as he did in last 2 sets. He was able to break back, but its playing with fire. He had 2 awful 0-40 games he was broken (not saving a single BP) and had chances in 4 of Nadal services, brekaing in 2. So he is creating more oportunities.

If there is ever a chance for his 1st Slam win over Nadal its now 2-0 up.

Wog Boy Says:

Is this the moment?

Dave Says:

Rafa FINALLY upped his level to counter Thiems aggression to win the set.

Daniel Says:

Now there is a match, the first 2 sets were very close. Again Thiem couldn’t avoid a bad game in a set. The problem for him is he will have those in next set and myabe in a potential fifth also, he will habe to break to compensate.

Off to work, will check scores now.

Anto Says:


I don’t think so. In fact seeing this display from Nadal, I think Thiem will give Djokovic a better competition and Nadal in the final.

Dave Says:


Very good point. Thiem will have a bad game each set just based on how aggressive he has been playing all match.

Dave Says:

Thiem is really pressing right now to get things done in 4. Making sure he gets every ball in play.

Wog Boy Says:

Anto, I just thought that Thiem insane level of play has to drop at some stage, but he has momentum again. His defence is absolutely unbelievable.

Anto Says:

The moment of truth for Thiem. I think he is going to finish it off.

Daniel Says:

Thiem getting broken serving for the match, choke on its way?!

Anto Says:

Thiem just gave away the game. But I have a feeling he will break Nadal here.

Dave Says:

Wow. Very surprising. Thiem didn’t play it safe at all and it cost him the game. All the momentum is with Rafa now.

RZ Says:

Oh FFS. That was a choke. I chose the wrong time to turn on the match. Going back to bed.

Anto Says:

Well done Thiem. As for Rafa he didn’t play badly just that he didn’t capitalise on the chances Thiem gave at times.

the_mind_reels Says:

Amazing resilience from Thiem in the tiebreaker. After blowing a sitter of a forehand at 6-4, he recovered with an amazing backhand pass on the full stretch to earn another MP and then closed it out in style. Well done!

RZ Says:

Well done Dom!
Match might have ended 20 minutes ago if I hadn’t jinxed Thiem by turning on the TV.

Daniel Says:

A new finalist in AO guarantee. Congrats Thiem!

5th straight year that he gets a win over Nadal and finally outside clay. Proving that him together with Djoko and Fed are the ones who can trouble Nadal (apart Fed on clay😜).

#1 on the line for Djoko now. Should he win the title he gets #17 and #1 back. A lot for him in semis. Also preventing Federer from reaching another final and chance to play for #21.

Fed’s 20 live a few months longer. With the way Nadal is playing only maybe Djoko can stop him in RG.

Andy Mira Says:

Congrats Thiem & RZ!…He was amazing & play lights out tennis…he’s the better player & mentally strong too today…and deserved the win…while Rafa….well,u’re afraid to take a chance…u pay for it!…

Margot Says:

AZ: Go Thiem Team!
Dominic looking very good. Hope he can grab his first GS! Couldn’t watch the ties, behind sofa. Groundhog day!

PK Says:

This win against Nadal on a relatively slow hardcourt bodes well for Thiem at Roland Garros, no?

It’s good to see the younger players finally making statement wins.

RZ Says:

Thanks AM and Margot! I’m less grumpy now that I got some sleep than I was when Thiem messed up at 5-4 up. I didn’t turn the TV back on during the tiebreak in case it was my fault, LOL.
(And always nice to see you back here, Margot).

RZ Says:

Tourneytopia hasn’t updated the bracket yet (it’s only been a few hours) but after the QFs, Daniel should have the lead based on the strengh of his Thiem pick.

Margot Says:

Thanks RZ. I aim to pop back now and again at special moments like this. Goooooooo Dominic The Destroyer!
Saw Dom beat Nole at the O2 at the year end. Was very close to the action and it was a spectacular match, The sheer incredible power of Dom’s ground strokes was simply amazing to see close up, as was Nole’s athleticism. He was doing the splits about 20 feet away from me. EEEEEK!

j-kath Says:

Oh my! What a match Rafa vs. Dominic. I wanted Rafa to win – not that I don’t appreciate Dom. They both deserved to win but I’m hanging on to the “old guard” – without them, for me, Tennis still remains a strong interest but will no longer a passion.

Daniel Says:

“This win against Nadal on a relatively slow hardcourt bodes well for Thiem at Roland Garros, no?”

Maybe, but I think only if they meet before finals. in a RG final only Djoko can pose some threat to Nadal.
Thiem made progress and won a set lasy year, but couldn’t sustain the level. Nadal played 4 hours today and seemed like he could play 2 more easily. He will be 34 next RG, maybe he will feel the tool eventually, specially if he has his usual bucnh of finals on clay (18-20 matches prior to RG on clay alone).

Daniel Says:

“Tourneytopia hasn’t updated the bracket yet (it’s only been a few hours) but after the QFs, Daniel should have the lead based on the strengh of his Thiem pick.”

Indeed, I picked Nadal to lose to Kyrgios when I saw his draw, but picked Federer to win, don’t know why. I had Djoko win it and shifted at the last minute. Also Medveded for finals, so unless Fed does a miracle, I can’t get anymore points. The ones who picked Djoko should win it all.

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