Defending Australian Open champion Roger Federer has dispatched Tomas Berdych at Melbourne Park for the third successive year, booking his place in a 14th AO semifinal in 15 seasons with a 7-6(1) 6-3 6-4 win.
The 19-time Grand Slam champion is now two victories away from a record-equalling sixth Australian men’s singles crown that would draw him level with Roy Emerson and Novak Djokovic.
He will face world No.68 Hyeon Chung in the final four, his first career meeting with the 21-year-old South Korean who ousted Djokovic in the fourth round.
Berdych made a bright start to the quarterfinal showdown, collecting an early break that he defended until the sharp end of the set.
But the No.19 seed let a set point slip from his grasp when serving at 5-3, and Federer made him pay with a stirring display in the tiebreak, sealed with the second of three dead-ball backhand drop shots that left Berdych rooted to the baseline.
Both players had a single break point in the second set, Berdych missing out on his chance at 1-1 while Federer converted at 4-3 before serving out for a two-set lead.
The Czech left the court for a medical timeout after the set before Federer snatched an early 2-1 lead early in the third, only for Berdych to break right back after a loose service game from the 36-year-old.
But the third successive break of the set proved decisive for Federer, who eased to the finish line with a love hold after two hours, 14 minutes.
News – Australian Open [ausopen]
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