No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia set up an Australian Open semifinal showdown with Roger Federer by beating Canada’s Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (1) on Tuesday night in Melbourne.
The seven-time Australian Open champion won 10 of 11 points at the net and saved both break points he faced against the No. 32 seed, improving his record against Raonic to 10-0.
Raonic fired 18 aces and 48 winners, but his 48 unforced errors dwarfed Djokovic’s total of 14 during the two-hour, 49-minute match.
Easy rolling Doker!
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Djokovic and Federer will meet for the 50th time. Djokovic holds a 26-23 edge in their series, including a 3-1 record in Melbourne. All three of those wins were in the semifinals.
“I have tremendous respect for Roger and everything he has achieved in the sport,” Djokovic said. “The match-ups against Roger and Rafa (Nadal) are the reason I am the player that I am today. I am grateful I’ve had so many matches against those guys. It’s amazing what Roger did on the court today and he’s done it a number of times in his career. Let the better player win!”
Earlier Tuesday, the 38-year-old Federer showed he still has some magic left.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion saved seven match points, all of them in the fourth set, and rallied for a 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-3 win over American Tennys Sandgren.
It was the second consecutive match in which Federer performed a great escape. The tournament’s third seed captured the last six points of a fifth-set tiebreaker against Australia’s John Millman to win 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (8) on Sunday.
“I was incredibly luck today, tonight, I don’t even know what time it is,” Federer said in an on-court interview after topping Sandgren, who is ranked No. 100 in the world. “I’m lucky to be here, and I might as well make the most of it.”
With Federer serving at 4-5 in the fourth set, Sandgren had three match points, but Federer managed to hold serve.
The set then went to a tiebreaker, which was tied 3-3 after six points. As the players changed ends, a ballgirl ran hard into Sandgren’s right leg. However, Sandgren won the next three points to set up three match points, all of which he dropped.
He got one more match point at 7-6, but Federer stayed alive again. Federer finally closed out the tiebreaker on his second chance, at 10-8.
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The only service break of the final set came in the sixth game, with Federer never facing a break point in the set.
Sandgren, a 28-year-old Tennessee native, fell short in his bid to become the first American man to reach the Australian Open semifinals since Andy Roddick in 2009.
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