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Federer tops Murray, Nadal next at Australian Open

Jan. 22, 2014 at 7:49 AM   |   Comments

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MELBOURNE, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Roger Federer out-battled Andy Murray for a four-set win Wednesday and will face world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open semifinals.

Federer, a four-time Australian Open champion, reached the semifinals in Melbourne for an 11th consecutive year with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3 win over Murray a year after Murray took a five-set match from Federer in the semis. Nadal took the day's first quarterfinal, defeating 22nd-seeded Grigor Dimitrov 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (9-7), 6-2.

Nadal will be the third consecutive Top 10 player across from Federer, who beat 10th-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round before taking on Murray, ranked fourth, in the quarterfinals.

Federer didn't face a break point while converting both of his opportunities in building a two-set lead Wednesday. Murray got his first -- and only as it turned out -- break when Federer was serving for the match at 5-4 of the third set. Federer also had a pair of match points in the tiebreaker.

Federer missed out on six break points in a 19-minute second game of the fourth set and lost two more before a backhand winner gave him a break and a 5-3 lead. He then held serve for the win.

Dimitrov cashed in the only break chance of the first set for a surprising lead against Nadal and each had one break in both the second and third sets. Nadal didn't allow Dimitrov a break chance in the fourth set, however, dropping only five points on serve in finishing off the match. He moved ahead with a break in the second game of the set and picked up his fourth break of the day in the game's final game.

Nadal is looking to become the first double men's player in the Open Era to win each Grand Slam event twice. He has the 2009 Australian Open title to go with his record eight wins at the French Open and two championships each at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. He's in the semis in Melbourne for the fourth time in his career as the 22nd time overall he's advanced this far in a major tournament.

Federer won at the Australian Open in 2004, '06, 07 and '10 but had lost in the semifinals each of the last three years.

Nadal owns a commanding 22-10 series edge over Federer, with Nadal taking all four of their meetings in 2013. Nadal won both times he played Federer in Melbourne, winning in five sets in the 2009 finals and in four sets in the 2012 semifinals.

The other 2014 semifinal Friday has No. 7-ranked Tomas Berdych going against eighth-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka.

Berdych is playing in his fourth major tournament semifinal but first in Australia. He lost to Nadal in the 2010 final at Wimbledon the only time Berdych was in a major semifinal.

Wawrinka's semifinal at last year's U.S. Open marked the only other time he's played in a Grand Slam semi.

Wawrinka has won the last three times he's played Berdych, pushing his series record to 8-5.

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