By Alessandro Mastroluca

  • Roger Federer [3] def. Tennys Sandgren 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6(8) 6-3
  • Novak Djokovic [3] def. Milos Raonic [32] 6-4 6-3 7-6(1)
  • Ashleigh Barty [1] b. Petra Kvitova [7] 7-6(6) 6-2
  • Sofia Kenin [14] b. Ons Jabeur 6-4 6-4
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Roger Federer refused to lose and took his second five-set win at the Australian Open over Tenny Sandgren. He will meet Novak Djokovic. Ashleigh Barty beat Petra Kvitova to face Sofia Kenin.

 

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Roger Federer [3] def. Tennys Sandgren 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6(8) 6-3

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Roger Federer saved seven match points to win his sixth straight five-setter at the Australian Open. As an artist in escapology, the Swiss refused to lose despite a groin injury and accepted to put more balls in play in the hardest moments of the match. Fuelled by passion, he completed a 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6(8) 6-3 win over Tennys Sandgren in an instant classic.

Federer, unbeaten in his fifteen quarter-finals in Melbourne, left for a medical timeout at the beginning of the third set. He struggled, he erased three match points on serve at 4-5 down in the fourth set and four further chances in the following tiebreak while the World No.100 became tighter and tighter.

The Swiss has rarely won a match like that. His level seldom reached such lows to force him just to stay in the match, to make the opponent hit ball after ball. Something similar happened in 2013 in Hamburg, when he beat Florian Mayer despite back pain, adding a sweater vest to his attire after the first set.

Sandgren played brilliant, powerful tennis as he did throughout the tournament. He completed big wins over eighth seed Matteo Berrettini and No. 12 seed Fabio Fognini that projected him back inside the Top 60 on Monday.

 

Novak Djokovic [3] def. Milos Raonic [32] 6-4 6-3 7-6(1)

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Federer will meet Novak Djokovic for the 50th time ever after the Serbian made it 10 wins from 10 matches against Milos Raonic. Obsessive and methodic, the Canadian failed to find an adequate Plan B despite his rational approach to the game. He won the most first-serve points in the tournament before the quarter-finals, but his serve deserted him. Djokovic, evidently with a little help from coach Goran Ivanisevic, won 19 more service points in his  6-4 6-3 7-6(1) win to book his eighth Australian Open semi-final.

Djokovic improved his win-loss ratio to 73-8 in Melbourne. More than the powerful first deliveries from the Canadian, he was bothered by a contact lens in the middle of the third set, requiring an off-court medical time-out at 4-4. His game, particularly thanks to the truer rebound guaranteed this year on the new, slower surface chosen for the tournament, looked ideal to exploit Raonic’s weaknesses off the backhand side. Djokovic dictated play on return as well and made his opponent work hard to extend the rally, so the 2016 Wimbledon runner-up came to doubt his main weapons. On the decisive points, consequently, he often took hazardous decisions and built his own fortune.

READ MORE | Australian Open 2020 | Day 10 Quarter-finals Preview

 

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Ashleigh Barty [1] def. Petra Kvitova [7] 7-6(6) 6-2

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Ashleigh Barty turned her campaign into an unforgettable fairy-tale. The World No.1 clinched her best result in her home Grand Slam sealing her first semi-final berth, avenging last year’s defeat to Petra Kvitova. She ousted one of the top rivals that used to test her game, beating the Czech for the first time in a major. She also became the first Australian to move to the last four here since Wendy Turnbull in 1984.

Barty completed a 7-6(6) 6-2 win against the two-time Wimbledon champion, whose cycle of big hopes followed by harsh disillusionment became familiar for her fans. The Australian won 74% of her first-service points to complete her 150th career main-draw match-win, her 100th career win on hard-court.

Seeded No.1 for the second time in a major, already guaranteed to remain in the top spot in the WTA rankings following the tournament, Barty completed her fourth straight win against the No.7 seed, who produced her best result here in 2019 by finishing as a runner-up.

In her second Grand Slam semi-final Barty, the only player to reach the second week in all the four majors, will face Sofia Kenin trying to improve her 4-1 lead in their head to head.

 

Sofia Kenin [14] def. Ons Jabeur 6-4 6-4

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Kenin completed the ninth win in her last ten matches on hard-court as she defeated Ons Jabeur 6-4 6-4. The Tunisian became the first Arab player to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final and break into the Top 50. Jabeur has had success on the Grand Slam stage before making back-to-back finals at Roland Garros as a junior in 2010, losing to Elina Svitolina, and 2011, winning the title beating the future Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig.

No.14 seed Kenin, who needs to reach the final to remain in contention for a Top 10 debut after the tournament, completed the fourth win in five meetings against the World No.78.

In a clash between two debutants at this stage in a major, Kenin used the court to her advantage best and forced her opponent into 36 unforced errors. The American, tied for most hard-court wins on WTA with Barty with a 38-16 record, played more solidly from the baseline and won nearly two-thirds of points against Jabeur’s inconsistent second serves.

The Tunisian saved her best tennis to save five set points in the first set, but the American made her run with her sliced backhands and cruised towards the semi-final.

Play continues with the rest of the quarter-finals on Day 10 at 11am (Midnight, GMT).

 

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