Defending champion Roger Federer reached his 14th Australian Open semi-final with a straight-set victory over Tomas Berdych. Second seed Federer, 36, beat the Czech 19th seed 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 6-4 in the Rod Laver Arena night session.
It was their 10th meeting at Grand Slams, and an eighth win for the Swiss player.Federer goes on to face unseeded 21-year-old Hyeon Chung of South Korea in the last four on Friday.
Britain’s Kyle Edmund takes on sixth seed Marin Cilic of Croatia in the first semi-final at 08:30 GMT on Thursday.
Federer’s most recent win over Berdych was a straight-sets victory in last year’s Wimbledon semi-final, and he prevailed again in similar fashion to take his career record against the Czech to 20-6.
Berdych, 32, made a strong start, capitalising on a surprisingly loose Federer to move 3-0 ahead, and serving for the set at 5-3.A set point went begging, however, and Federer reclaimed the break at the fourth opportunity, despite an argument with umpire Fergus Murphy over Hawkeye.
Berdych had a second chance to grab the set when Federer double-faulted but, having worked his way into the rally, could only fire a backhand long.Federer needed no more help as he raced through the tie-break, sealing it with an exquisite drop shot.The Swiss made the decisive move in the second set at 4-3, swatting away a beautiful backhand before charging into the net to fire another on break point.
With the second set wrapped up moments later, Berdych headed off court for treatment to his back, but showed no sign of injury on his return.Federer was giving him enough problems, the Swiss even mastering line calling when he broke at 1-1 in the third set.The world number two stopped mid-rally to challenge a ball near the baseline and was proved correct by one millimetre when Hawkeye gave its verdict.
Berdych would rally one final time with a fizzing forehand return but after Federer made it three breaks in a row with a brilliant backhand, he was not about to let the Czech back in.”I hung around, got a bit lucky, a bit angry, a frustrated, maybe at the umpire, but I actually thought the call was good anyway!” said Federer.”I was just frustrated and a bit antsy. I’m happy I got out of that first set. It ended up being key to the match. Tomas was great.”
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