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Melbourne | Federer escapes seven match points

Melbourne | Federer escapes seven match points

Should there be any doubt that Roger Federer deserves to be remembered as the Greatest Ever when he eventually retires, should take some time to watch his latest victory over Tennys Sandgren to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open

I don't deserve this one, but I'm standing here and obviously very happy, Roger Federer

In a very tense match, Federer saved seven match points, required an ‘off court’ medical time out and received a code warning for swearing before securing a 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6(8) 6-3 victory.

The Swiss icon was two points away from defeat in the third round against John Millman but somehow recovered to string together six consecutive points to win the deciding fifth set ‘super’ tie break 10-8.

This time he also looked down and out against the unheralded American, the world No.100, who was always going to be a danger having beaten Matteo Berrettini, the eighth seed and Fabio Fognini, seeded 12, en route to the last eight.

The pair have never met on court before and both no doubt needed time to settle and work out their opponent’s game, something Federer is always quick to do when playing someone for the first time.

Having saved break points in their opening games, the third seed certainly settled quickly but then was reeling as the powerful Sandgren struck back to take a two-sets to love lead and virtual control of what turned out to be a crucial and dramatic fourth set where he hung on grimly having taken a medical time out in the previous set.

He saved three match points at 5-4 and held on for the tiebreaker where more drama unfolded when a ball-kid collided with Sandgren at the changeover.

Incredibly Federer saved another four match points before winning that tiebreak 10-8, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

Whilst he regained his confidence and Sandgren saw his evaporate, Federer then raced on to pull off one of the greatest escapes of his career.

“I don’t deserve this one, but I’m standing here and obviously very happy,” said the sx-time champion Federer, 38, who became the oldest man in 43 years to reach the last four at Melbourne Park after Ken Rosewall, for his 15th appearance at that stage.

“I just said (to myself while losing), I believe in miracles,” he revealed.

“I got incredibly lucky tonight, today – I don’t even know what time it is. I’m lucky to be here and might as well make the most of it (being in the semis).”

More importantly for him he had retained his record of never losing to a player ranked as low as Sandgren since he lost to the 54th ranked Arnaud Clement twenty years ago.

He now awaits the result of the second quarter-final between Novak Djokovic and Milos Raonic as he attempts to secure his seventh Aussie Open title to equal the Serbians total and extend his record of grand slam titles to 21.

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