Melbourne | Federer posts another three-set win
Roger Federer eased into the semi-finals as he continued his quest for a 20th grand slam title by retaining his title in Melbourne.
The World No2, now clear favourite to do just that at the age of 36, defeated Tomas Berdych 7-6(1) 6-3 6-4 to notch up his fifth consecutive straight sets victory in Melbourne.
Tomas played great, especially in the first couple, [but] he dropped his level in the third a little. The first could have gone either way, I kind of stole it a little bit Roger Federer
For Berdych it was a disappointing result as he wasn’t able to stem the flow of defeats at the hands of his conqueror resulting in him now having recorded 9 consecutive losses to the Swiss since Dubai 2013.
And he had his opportunities but was unable to capitalise on them. The big Czech stormed into a 3-0 lead in the opening set which rather shook his higher rated opponent who, having been forced to come from behind, then snatched the set on the tie-break.
Berdych had served for the set at 5-3 but found himself two breakpoints down with the match turning on a disputed call by Federer on the first. Having challenged the call he was frustrated by the fact that Hawkeye suffered some glitch and was unable to show it on the screen leaving umpire Fergus Murphy to confirm the original call.
Federer argued with Murphy to no avail, but the incident acted as a spur and he went on to break Berdych six points later with a crushing backhand winner.
The break back lifted Federer and had the opposite effect on Berdych; although he held a set-point in the 12th game, the set went to the tie-break.
Federer then got the early mini-break and with the confidence of a master, he produced a series of winners to race away with it conceding just one point to capture the set after 60-minutes of play.
But while Berdych regrouped, his efforts were constantly thwarted by Federer who kept out of trouble with relative ease and then broke him in the eighth game by wrong footing him and immediately followed that up with a strong service game to net the second set.
Berdych called for a medical time out and went off court for attention and on his return held the opening game as he attempted to establish himself into the match. Unfortunately he slipped up in the third game when he committed a forehand error to hand Federer a 2-1 lead.
Against the run of play, Berdych responded, nailing a perfect return to Federer’s feet on break point, forcing him to volley into the net, to level at 2-2 but it was only a temporary reprieve for Federer regained the initiative in the next game to roll on and after two-hours and 14-minutees, pocket the win and reach his allotted place in the last four.
Speaking after the match he admitted he knew the ball he queried in the opening set with Fergus Murphy, was out and just used the incident to get himself motivated.
“I hung around, had to get a bit lucky, a bit angry, a bit frustrated maybe at the umpire – I actually thought the call was good anyway,” he said.
“It’s all good, I was just trying to empty the – just get a bit frustrated and antsy. I’m very happy I got out that first set, it ended up being the key to the match.
“Tomas played great, especially in the first couple, [but] he dropped his level in the third a little. The first could have gone either way, I kind of stole it a little bit.”