Swiss tennis maestro Roger Federer scripted one of the greatest comeback of his career to reach semi-finals of the Australian Open semi-finals.
The third seed saved seven match points to complete a stunning 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6(8), 6-3 win over Tennys Sandgren in an instant classic.
”You’ve got to get lucky sometimes,” Federer said after the win in his on-court interview. “I was just hoping that maybe he wasn’t going to smash a winner, if he misses one or two [match points], who knows what’s going to happen? I think I got incredibly lucky today.
”As the match went on, I started to feel better and just tried to play. I believe in miracles. There could be rain…Just let him finish me off in style, and he didn’t do that. I’m still standing here and obviously just very happy.”
With the win, Federer remains unbeaten (15-0) in quarter-finals at Australian Open. He will face the winner of the match between Milon Raonic and Novak Djokovic.
Federer trails Djokovic 23-26 in head-to-head games and has lost their past three matches in Melbourne, all of which took place in the semi-finals (2008, 2011, 2016). The Swiss, however, leads Raonic 11-3 in their clash and won their lone clash at Australian Open in 2013.
”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 rankings. I’m really happy for him,” Federer said. “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 started the match well by winning the first set 6-3. Tennys Sandgren then played exemplary tennis and won the next two sets 6-2, 6-2.
In the fourth set, Sandgren led 5-4 and had the match in his hands with four consecutive match points but he ended up dropping them all.
The set eventually moved to a tie-break and it was Federer who blinked first, hitting a loose forehand to give the American a 4-3 mini-break advantage.
Another three match points came Sandgren’s way at 6-3, but Federer erased them all and took the set by winning the tie-breaker 10-8.
In the last set, Sangren was no match to Federer as the six-time Australian Open champion closed the match by winning it 6-3.