It was a rough day for Swiss Tennis maestro and his 38-year-old-legs as he had to save no less than seven-match points to book a berth in semis. Federer would face a decade younger world #100 American Tennys Sandgren in a rollercoaster ride he eventually prevailed. Federer has maintained the clean sheet and is now 15-0 in Australian open Quarter-finals.
Known for his attacking style of play, Federer was not himself for most part of the match but somehow managed to pull off a 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-3 victory in the quarter-final that went out of everybody’s control.
The Swiss has won last 6 of his 5-setters at AO which include 2020 quarter-final against six different opponents:
2020 QF vs. Sandgren (today)
2020 R3 vs. Millman
2018 Final vs. Cilic
2017 Final vs. Nadal
2017 SF vs. Wawrinka
2017 R4 vs. Nishikori
He is next up against second-seed Serbian and old rival Novak Djokovic or #32 seed Canadian Milos Raonic in semis. In head to head record Federer trails Serb 23-26 and has lost in their last three meeting in Melbourne – all semifinals in 2008, 2011 and 2016. He leads Raonic 11-3 is the contests between the two.
”It’s nice to see Milos back and playing well. It’s nice for him to remind everybody that he does belong up in the [FedEx ATP] Rankings. I’m really happy for him,” said Federer. “Novak, he’s a champion, especially here in Australia. We’ve had some epic matches in the past. Regardless of who I play, I need to feel better than I do today.
”The draws are not getting easier. But I’ve got the next [two] days with nothing to do… You do feel better and you just never know. With these lucky escapes, you might play without expectations because you know you should be skiing in Switzerland… Might as well make the most of it!”
Federer pressed the American from the first ball in the opening set and after continuous knocking on the door eventually secured a break at 3-2 when Sandgren attempted backhand was out of bounds. The one break conversion was enough for the 6-time Champion to seal the first set.
Sandgren was able to grab four breaks in sets two and three and capitalized on Federer’s unforced errors but stopped short of home run after missing on seven match points in the 4th set.
After receiving an audible obscenity warning in the third set, the swiss left the court for a medical timeout at 0-3 down. Federer returned back with the necessary treatment only to hand another break to Sandgren at 2-5 as the American closed in on another set to move towards a monumental upset.
In the 4th set both Federer and Sandgren recorded comfortable holds on their serves before the 10th game of the match when Roger would once again face a breakpoint on his serve. The career-defining win for the American was just a shot away but he wasted three match-points when nerves got better of him. Tied for a tie-break and it was once again the Swiss who first paid the cost after hitting a loose forehand to give American a 4/3 mini-break advantage. The American gathered three more points for a 6-3 but once again lost 4 match points to eventually gave up the 4th set.
The Swiss in the final set started to regain his ballerina movement and found the whip on his forehand as he earned the match-deciding break at 3-2. Federer coming from the behind, form there showed no nonsense to wind up the five-set clash in 3 hours and 31 min.