Roger Federer’s great run continued Wednesday night as the four-time Australian Open champion routined Mischa Zverev 6-1, 7-5, 6-2 in one hour and 32 minutes to reach his 13th semifinal in the last 14 years in Melbourne. At 35-years-old, Federer becomes the oldest man into a semifinal in Melbourne since Arthur Ashe in 1978.
Federer was right from the off against the German, taking the opening set 6-1 in only 19 minutes, one minute shy of the tournament record. the 17-time Grand Slam champion held nothing back, slapping winners left and right past Zverev, who continued to employ his serve-and-volley tactics.
The second set, however, was much more competitive as the world number 50 went toe-to-toe with the world number 17. Zverev even broke Federer midway through the set, yet the Swiss got back on serve before taking the set 7-5.
The third set was much of the same as Federer used a late break to seal his victory. In the end, Federer hit 65 winners as compared to only 13 unforced errors, a remarkable statline.
Federer spoke following the match: “I’m pleased with the way I started the match,” Federer said after the match. “Right away again got off to a great start against him, like I did against him a few years ago. After that, naturally everything’s easier. It was a nice match. I think I played great. Mischa had a wonderful tournament, so well done to him.
“I’m happy I played as well as I played,” Federer said on the court after his match. “Never thought I’d play as well as I did here. I am still standing.”
Zverev also addressed his magical run to his first career Grand Slam quarterfinal: “Of course, it’s a positive,” Zverev said. “First time I’ve ever been in a quarter. There’s a lot of positive things I can take with me, hopefully take with me through the whole season, use the confidence to do well in many more tournaments to come.
“I think, yeah, it was a great 10 days in Melbourne,” the German continued. “I really enjoyed it here. The whole family was there. I played, I think, decent tennis.”
Federer’s semifinal opponent will be his countryman and 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka, seeded 4th. Federer has dominated their rivalry 18-3, including a win in the 2015 U.S. Open semifinals while one of Wawrinka’s three wins came at a major, the 2015 French Open quarterfinals, a tournament he would go on to win.
Federer spoke about his compatriot reaching the last four and playing him: “If someone would have told me I’d play in the semis against Stan, never would I have called that one for me,” Federer said. “For Stan, yes, but not for me. I honestly didn’t even know a few days ago that he was in my section of the draw or I’m in his section.”
This is the first all-Swiss semifinal in Australian Open history and if form holds up, it should be a brilliant affair. The match will take place on Thursday.