Roger Federer was delighted to get past Tennys Sandgren in Melbourne.
Roger Federer was delighted to get past Tennys Sandgren in Melbourne. Image Credit: AFP

Melbourne: Swiss great Roger Federer said: “I believe in miracles” after he saved seven match points in a five-set nail-biter against 100th-ranked Tennys Sandgren to labour into the Australian Open semi-finals on Tuesday.

The six-time champion, struggling physically, saved three match points at 4-5 in the fourth set and four more in the tie-breaker to win 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-3 and set up a clash against title-holder Novak Djokovic.

Federer received a rare warning for an audible obscenity before going off-court for treatment on a groin injury in the third set, but still looked hampered as he forced a fifth set against the big-serving American.

Rampant defending champion Djokovic powered past Milos Raonic to set a blockbustersemi-final against Federer .

The Serbian world No. 2 tamed the big-serving Canadian 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 as he targets an eighth Melbourne Park crown and 17th Grand Slam title.

“I believe in miracles,” Federer said, revealing that he thought his groin strain had ended his chances. “There could be rain, there could be all kinds of stuff.

“(I thought) just let him finish me off in style, and he didn’t do that. I’m incredibly lucky tonight, today — I don’t even know what time it is.”

Sandgren, achingly close to becoming the lowest-ranked player to beat Federer at the Australian Open, can count himself unlucky especially after a ball girl accidentally collided with him during the pivotal tie-breaker, which he lost.

Federer has made heavy weather of reaching his 46th major semi-final. He was two points from defeat by John Millman in a fifth-set tie-breaker in round three, and dropped a set against 67th-ranked Marton Fucsovics in round four.

Novak Djokovic defeated Dominic Thiem to set up a clash with Roger Federer.
Novak Djokovic defeated Dominic Thiem to set up a clash with Roger Federer. Image Credit: AFP

There was no such luck of a second successive classic for the fans at Rod Laver Arena, with Djokovic at his ruthless best.

The floodlit match between Raonic, one of the tour's most vexing servers, against one of its most brilliant returners had promised, at the least, an intriguing clash of styles.

Yet, barring a third set lull for Djokovic as he struggled with his contact lenses, it was a stroll for the second seeded Serb who dismantled the Canadian's power game to book an eighth semi-final at his Melbourne Park fortress.

‘Quiet little life’

In the women’s draw Australia’s world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty dismissed two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in impressive style to reach the semis for the first time.

The unflappable Barty beat the Czech 7-6, 6-2 and will be favourite in her semi-final against America’s Sofia Kenin — sending hopes soaring of a first home winner in 42 years.

The French Open champion, who once quit tennis to play cricket and has been steadily rising since her return, is the tournament’s poster girl with her image plastered all over Melbourne.

But she said: “I’d prefer to just be sitting at home just living my quiet little life.”

Kenin, whose career is also on the up, made her first Grand Slam semi-final and with it will rise to at least 12 in the rankings — making her the second-highest American behind Serena Williams.

The feisty 21-year-old was a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Ons Jabeur.