The No. 3 seed Federer moved into his 12th Australian Open semifinal beating Tomas Berdych 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-4. No. 1 seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic bested No. 7 seed Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in the night session in Rod Laver Arena.
“I think I played well overall,” said the 17-time major champion. “You know, wished maybe I didn’t get a break here or there. At the same time Tomas was pushing for it, he was looking for it, so clearly it can happen.
“He’s got a lot of power. He knows how to do it. So I was happy that on both occasions, first and third, I was able to react quickly. The second set, when I did have the break, I was able to roll with it.
“Yeah, I think the first set was tough. It was the one that took the longest, had the most importance of all the sets, in my opinion. It was definitely key to the rest of the match because I think it maybe might’ve taken some energy out of Tomas. Who knows? If not physical, also mental. It’s always tough to lose the first set in best of five in a breaker in my opinion.”
The match was the 80th win at the Australian Open for Federer. He became the oldest player at 34, since Colin Dibley at 35 to reach the semifinals at Melbourne.
Djokovic is hoping to win the tournament for a record sixth time – only Rod Laver has accomplished that feat.
For the 28-year-old Djokovic this will be his 29th Grand Slam semifinal and sixth in Melbourne. The Serbian has gone on to win the tournament the each of the five previous times he’s reached the final four.
Federer was asked about what it would mean to him to win one more major in the “Djokovic” era: “I mean, a lot, yeah. It’s part of the reason why I guess I’m still playing. I feel like I’m competitive at the top. I can beat all the guys on tour. It’s nice now that in the last three slams that I’ve been as consistent as I have been.
“I’m playing good tennis, fun tennis for me anyway. I really enjoy being able to come to the net more like back in the day. So I’m very pleased.
“It would mean a lot to me, no doubt about it.”
“Roger is playing really terrific tennis in last two years,” Djokovic said as he’ll play the Swiss for the 45th time in his career on Thursday. “We played two Grand Slam finals last year. I know very well how good he plays, especially in the later stages of a major event.
“He always makes you play your best. My best is what is going to be necessary to win against him. Hopefully I’ll be able to deliver.”
“It’s obvious that he’s a very complete player. He’s trying lately to come to the net more, kind of shorten up the rallies. I mean, he definitely has the game for that. He’s got a great variation from the backhand side with the slice, short slice. He’s got great defense, amazing offense. He’s very complete. He puts constant pressure on the opponent. You have to be aware at all times. You got to be tough. You got to be concentrated.”
Djokovic and Federer are tied in their head-to-head record at 22-22.