Chasing his dream of securing his seventh Australian Open title, Swiss great Roger Federer saved seven match points to defeat Tennys Sandgren and reach the semi-finals of Australian Open in Melbourne on Tuesday (January 28).
Federer swept into the semis for a record 15th time after thrashing the 28-year-old 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6(8) 6-3 at Rod Laver Arena.
The 38-year-old, who is chasing a 21st Grand Slam title, has won all the Australian Open quarter-finals he’s entered.
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He will now battle it out with the winner of the blockbuster clash between second seed Novak Djokovic and Canadian Milos Raonic.
Sandgren was trying to become the third active American man to reach the semifinals at a Grand Slam after Sam Querrey (2017 Wimbledon) and John Isner (2018 Wimbledon).
Federer received a rare warning for an audible obscenity before going off-court for treatment on a groin injury in the third set, but still looked hampered as he forced a fifth set against the big-serving American.
Federer assessed his performance by saying that he got “incredibly lucky” and that during the course of the match the pressure went away.
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“You’ve got to get lucky sometimes. I was just hoping that maybe he was not going to smash the winner, to keep the ball in play, who knows what he’s thinking about? I got incredibly lucky today. As the match wore on I started feeling better and the pressure went away. I don’t deserve this one but I’m standing here and I’m obviously very happy,” he said in a post-match interview.
Explaining his medical timeout, Federer said that he doesn’t like calling the trainer on the court but he believes in “miracles”. He further described how his groin injury went on to affect his lower leg and how his pride prevented him from retiring or receiving treatment on the court.
Sandgren, achingly close to becoming the lowest-ranked player to beat Federer at the Australian Open, can count himself unlucky especially after a ball girl accidentally collided with him during the pivotal tie-breaker, which he lost.
Federer has made heavy weather of reaching his 46th Major semi-final. He was two points from defeat by John Millman in a fifth-set tie-breaker in round three, and dropped a set against 67th-ranked Marton Fucsovics in round four.
(With inputs from agencies)