Roger Federer found his groove against Andy Murray, winning a four-set match and advancing to an Australian Open semifinal against Rafael Nadal.
Federer won, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, in Melbourne and Nadal battled through a blister on his hand to beat Grigor Dimitrov 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (9-7), 6-2. Federer stumbled a bit in the third set, but, as he pointed out afterward, has regained his confidence.
“I have no choice but to stay out here and try to tell myself I’m actually still in the lead, so it’s not all that bad,” he said in a postmatch interview with Jim Courier. “Clearly it was tough because you’re sitting there [thinking] I could be talking to you right now. It could be all fun and games, but no. Here I am sitting, preparing for the fourth.”
Federer admits that he still has jitters — and could laugh about the missed chances early in the fourth set. He won on his third match point.
“I’m the guy who misses more break-point possibilities, not the guy [who makes them], so I’m kind of used to it,” he joked. “You stay positive that you gave yourself a chance. You miss another one. But I give myself another chance. Miss one more. Sure, then I want to do something maybe impossible, out of the stadium or something. But I try to keep my composure, keep a poker face. It worked tonight.”
Murray, the runner-up to Novak Djokovic in Australia last year, has lost four of five matches to Federer in majors. Suddenly, Federer is confident in his game again.
“I’m much higher than I was last year and that’s very satisfying because I have confidence in my movement. It’s really become a game of movement out there and last year it just felt like it just wasn’t quite right. It’s that little thing missing. Who knows? Maybe Andy was carrying something as well tonight,” he said. “You can play, but it’s just not quite the same and it misses when you’re in these big opportunities against the big players and it’s just not quite enough. That’s what I felt last year. You start losing a bit more and that’s when it got tough for me. But I kept on playing and kept on doing my work. … Here I am now in the semis and it’s an amazing start for the season.”
And now he’ll face Nadal in a semifinal.
“I hope we can slug it out here in a couple of days.”