Federer reaches semis to face South Korean upstart Chung

Bill Scott, DPA on

Published in Tennis

MELBOURNE -- Roger Federer extended a five-year win streak over Tomas Berdych with a 7-6 (7-1), 6-3, 6-4 victory Wednesday that sent him into the semifinals of the Australian Open.

The Swiss second seed remains on track for a sixth title and is an even stronger trophy candidate after the mid-match injury withdrawal of Rafael Nadal.

Federer, 36, will face the next generation when he plays Chung Hyeon, who eliminated controversial American Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 to become the first South Korean to reach a Grand Slam semi.

In the women's quarters, Germany's Angelique Kerber continued her march back to top form as the ex-Melbourne champion crushed American Madison Keys 6-1, 6-2.

Kerber will play top seed Simona Halep after the Romanian, who has never won a Grand Slam, recovered from a bad start to overhaul No. 6 seed Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-2.

Federer also had a rough start against a player whom he has beaten in eight of their last 10 matches, with Berdych going up a break in the opening set.

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But instant improvement by Federer, a 19-time Grand Slam champion, led to a monster 10th game in which he saved a set point with a down-the-line winner and broke for 5-5 on his fifth chance. Federer closed out the set in a runaway tiebreaker after 57 minutes.

He claimed the second as well but was pegged back in the third after losing an early break to his longtime opponent. But he broke again, then produced a love game for 4-2 prior to closing out his 20th win in their 25-match series.

"I got a bit lucky in the first set," Federer said. "I hung around and am very glad to have gotten out of it. It could have gone either way.

"Winning that set was the key to the match. Tomas played great in the first two sets and his level dropped a bit in the third."


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