Roger Federer couldn’t convert two match points in the third set, but he closed it out in the fourth. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, Australia — No. 6 Roger Federer defeated No. 4 Andy Murray 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 on Wednesday to advance to his 11th consecutive Australian Open semifinal. The 17-time Grand Slam champion will meet longtime rival and 13-time major winner Rafael Nadal, the world No. 1.
The match was as much about Murray’s fight as Federer’s form. Federer was in command for nearly three sets, playing with controlled aggression and pouncing on Murray’s passive play. Murray, who continued to show some rust in his second tournament since having back surgery in September, gave Federer too many free points and the Swiss took the first two sets easily.
As the third set progressed, Federer looked primed for a relatively easy straight-set victory. When he toed the line at 5-4 to serve out the match, he had not been broken in 50 consecutive games and he hadn’t given Murray a break point all match. But Federer played a poor game and was broken. Federer then led 5-2 in the tiebreaker but still couldn’t close, with Murray saving two match points and winning six of the last seven points to take the set.
“I was proud of the way I fought,” Murray said.
Federer, however, was the one who created most of the chances in the fourth set; Murray saved six break points in his first service game of the set. Finally, on his 10th break point of the set, Federer broke in the eighth game and then served it out.
“I am back physically,” Federer said. “I’m explosive out there. I can get to balls. I’m not afraid to go for balls. Last year at times [I] couldn’t do it, but what’s important is that I can do it now. I’m looking forward to the next match.”
Game-by-game analysis of the match below: