With Rafael Nadal’s hip injury putting a sad end to his tournament in the fifth set of his quarter-final, the path to victory for Roger Federer looks even more wide open. He faces 19th seed Tomas Berdych in the night session on Rod Laver Arena and it will be either Hyeon Chung or Tennys Sandgren standing between him and a spot in yet another slam final. While Chung and Sandgren are playing well above their respective rankings outside the top 50 and 90 respectively, it does have the feeling of another coronation for Federer.
As expected, it was routine stuff for Federer in his previous round against Marton Fucsovics. The Hungarian stayed with Federer and held tough but as a contest, there was never really any doubt with Federer not even facing a single break point in the 6-4 7-6 6-2 victory. “The goal for me was really trying to be focused on my own game and take it to him and play tough but he hung with me for a long time. So it was a good match.” he said.
Tougher times are to come for Federer though and Berdych is having an impressive fortnight even though few would have seen him as a threat to win the title. He blasted Juan Martin Del Potro off the court in the third round and did not let up in the next, beating Fabio Fognini 6-1 6-4 6-4 for a spot in the quarter finals. He hit 37 winners overall and is in confident form. “I’m glad to be back in the shape that I am right now, which is finally healthy and that, you know, that makes the difference. You know, I can play freely and I can have joy from the tennis.” he said.
He will need to maintain that mindset to have much of a chance against Federer, especially given their meetings in the past few years. Berdych had been quite successful in the early ’10s against him but it has reverted to type recently with Federer winning eight straight. That includes twice in slams last year, where Federer was a straight sets winner on the way to his titles in Australia and United Kingdom respectively. For the third time in five slams, it is probably going to be the case that Berdych will lose to the eventual trophy winner – Roger Federer.
Prediction – Roger Federer in four sets