Wimbledon Day 5 Preview: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Day 5 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

They say upsets can be contagious, and that bug has spread across the grounds of The All England Club.

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Through four days of play, the ladies’ draw has already lost five of the top six seeds (and six of the top eight). On Thursday, Garbine Muguruza was the latest top seed to fall, as did 2017 Wimbledon Semifinalist Johanna Konta. In the gentlemen’s draw, Day 4 brought us the biggest upset to date. Marin Cilic, the third seed and 2017 finalist, lost to the 82nd-ranked player in the world, who had never won a match at SW19 prior to this week. Stan Wawrinka also went down in defeat on Thursday. Four of the top 10 male seeds have gone out, and a fifth may be on his way. Sascha Zverev is down two-sets-to-one to Taylor Fritz, in a match to be continued on Friday. Overall, 30 of the 64 singles seeds did not survive the first four days of The Championships. What will happen next?

 

Serena Williams vs. Kristina Mladenovic

Following the first round exit of pre-tournament favorite Petra Kvitova, the oddsmakers declared Serena Williams as the new favorite to win her eighth Wimbledon title. Considering this will only be her tenth singles match on tour in eighteen months, is that premature? Honestly, no. While she came into the fortnight with such little match play, and less than 100% healthy, no one has stepped up in her absence to dominate the tour (exhibit A: so many top seeds losing in the first two rounds). And we’ve seen Serena win majors while at less than her best before, or even while pregnant. Mladenovic though is a step up in competition for the 23-time Major singles champion. Last year, the Frenchwoman was ranked inside the top 10, in a season highlighted by her run to the quarterfinals at her home Major. She also had victories in 2017 over Halep, Wozniacki, Kerber, and Muguruza. But then she suffered a knee injury last year at Wimbledon, and it was all downhill from there. She went on a stunning 15-match losing streak. She’s now ranked 62nd in the world, though perhaps she’s ready to come out of her funk now that she’s barely defending any points for the rest of the season. And even though the singles results have subsided, she’s remained successful in doubles. Mladenovic won the women’s doubles title at the Australian Open, and won her second doubles title of the year just two weeks ago on the grass of Birmingham. They’ve only played once, with Serena defeating Kristina at the 2016 French Open. Serena should get through this one, but don’t sleep on Mladenovic – she can be dangerous.

Venus Williams vs. Kiki Bertens

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Here’s another case of a Williams sister facing a tough third round opponent. They just played for the first time a few months ago, with Venus avoiding the upset in Miami 7-5 in the third. Venus has struggled mightily this year, while Bertens’ stock continues to rise. Venus lost in the opening round at both of the first two Majors of 2018, and came into Wimbledon with only 10 wins on the year. If she’s going to turn her year around at any tournament, it’ll most likely happen here for the five-time Wimbledon champion and 2017 finalist. Bertens arrived at SW19 with twice as many wins as Venus in 2018. Kiki has become a bit of a clay court specialist since reaching the 2016 Roland Garros semifinals. 15 of her 22 wins this year have come on clay, including winning the title in Charleston and making the final in Madrid. However, she’s just 1-2 on grass this year, and has never been farther than this stage of The Championships. Still, Venus can ill afford to have an off day against a player with so many wins over the past few months.

Sam Querrey vs. Gael Monfils

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This match will open Thursday’s play on Centre Court. Querrey has won 11 of his last 13 singles matches at The All England Club. In 2016, his shocking upset of Novak Djokovic began Novak’s tailspin, which he’s still battling to recover from. Last year, he took out the visibly-hampered top seed and home favorite, Andy Murray, on Centre Court. Querrey is 0-2 lifetime against Monfils, but they’ve never met on grass, a surface which should heavily favor the American. Also working in Sam’s favor? Gael is 0-6 in third round matches at Wimbledon. He’ll need to scramble around every blade of grass and extend the rallies to challenge the big-hitting Querrey. If Monfils can remain motivated throughout the match, the contrast in styles could make for a great contest. Regardless, I like Sam’s chances to advance to the second week of The Championships for the third straight year.

Karolina Pliskova vs. Mihaela Buzarnescu

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Buzarnescu has been one of the hottest players on tour in 2018. She started the year playing in the minor leagues of the sport, but 19 wins over the past three months has landed her the 29th seed here. Her recent run started in Prague, where she advanced to the final. Mihaela then made the round of 16 at the French Open, and collected a total of seven wins at grass court lead-up events. Her opponent today openly admits to feeling uncomfortable on the lawns of The All England Club. On Wednesday however, Pliskova broke a streak of five-straight second round losses at Wimbledon by ousting Victoria Azarenka in impressive fashion, her first win on Centre Court. Their only previous meeting happened on grass and went to Karolina, though that was over six years ago. I think Pliskova can make a run in the ladies’ draw if she can get some momentum and get passed this confident opposition.

Julia Goerges vs. Barbora Strycova

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Head-to-head records are rarely this tight when players have met this many times, with each of these veterans winning five of the ten times they’ve played. Surprisingly, this will be their first match on grass. Between the end of 2017 and the start of this year, Georges went on a 15-match winning streak. This included titles at Moscow, the WTA Elite Trophy event, and Auckland. However, she’s yet to transfer that success to a Major. She’s never been farther than the fourth round at any Grand Slam event, and lost in the first round of Wimbledon in five straight years prior to this week. Strycova has played much better at SW19, making the quarter-finals back in 2014. Going into this year’s French Open, Barbora was on an eight-match losing streak, making her fourth round appearance at Roland Garros on her weakest surface all the more surprising. She followed that up with a semifinal on the grass of Birmingham, where she upset Muguruza. Based on recent form, as well as past Wimbledon success, Strycova should have the edge here.

Order of play

CENTRE COURT – SHOW COURT – 13:00 START

1 Sam Querrey (USA) [11] 17 vs Gael Monfils (FRA) 23

2 Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 100 vs Serena Williams (USA) [25] 104

3 Roger Federer (SUI) [1] 1 vs Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 7

No.1 COURT – SHOW COURT – 13:00 START

1 Taylor Fritz (USA) 94 vs Alexander Zverev (GER) [4] 96 T/F 4/6 7/5 7/6(0) 0/0

2 Kiki Bertens (NED) [20] 73 vs Venus Williams (USA) [9] 80

3 Karolina Pliskova (CZE) [7] 65 vs Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) [29] 72

4 Dennis Novak (AUT) 44 vs Milos Raonic (CAN) [13] 48

No.2 COURT – SHOW COURT – 11:30 START

1 Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) [25] 25 vs Kevin Anderson (RSA) [8] 32

2 Julia Goerges (GER) [13] 81 vs Barbora Strycova (CZE) [23] 88

3 John Isner (USA) [9] 49 vs Radu Albot (MDA) 55

No.3 COURT – SHOW COURT – 11:30 START

1 Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) 107 vs Madison Keys (USA) [10] 112

2 Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 92 vs Donna Vekic (CRO) 95

3 Adrian Mannarino (FRA) [22] 9 vs Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 15

4 Neal Skupski (GBR) / Naomi Broady (GBR) 27 vs Joe Salisbury (GBR) / Katy Dunne (GBR) 28

COURT 12 – SHOW COURT – 11:30 START

1 Lucie Safarova (CZE) 124 vs Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 126

2 Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) / Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 15 vs Jamie Murray (GBR) / Bruno Soares (BRA) [5] 16

3 Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) [31] 57 vs Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) 62

COURT 18 – SHOW COURT – 11:30 START

1 Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 114 vs Camila Giorgi (ITA) 119

2 Oliver Marach (AUT) / Mate Pavic (CRO) [1] 1 vs Federico Delbonis (ARG) / Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela (MEX) 2

3 Guido Pella (ARG) 36 vs Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 38

COURT 5 – 11:30 START

1 Kevin Krawietz (GER) / Andreas Mies (GER) 54 vs Pablo Cuevas (URU) / Marcel Granollers (ESP) [11] 56

2 Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) / Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) 21 vs Lucie Hradecka (CZE) / Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) [14] 24

COURT 6 – 13:00 START

1 Fabrice Martin (FRA) / Raluca Olaru (ROU) 35 vs Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) / Ashleigh Barty (AUS) 36

2 Irina Bara (ROU) / Alize Cornet (FRA) 47 vs Andreja Klepac (SLO) / Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP) [4] 48 T/F 5/7 7/6(3) 0/0

3 Andrei Vasilevski (BLR) / Anastasia Rodionova (AUS) 37 vs Luke Bambridge (GBR) / Katie Boulter (GBR) 38

4 Antonio Sancic (CRO) / Petra Martic (CRO) 3 vs Artem Sitak (NZL) / Lyudmyla Kichenok (UKR) 4

COURT 7 – 13:00 START

1 Rohan Bopanna (IND) / Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) [12] 25 vs Frederik Nielsen (DEN) / Joe Salisbury (GBR) 28

2 Jamie Cerretani (USA) / Renata Voracova (CZE) 19 vs John-Patrick Smith (AUS) / Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 20

3 Mike Bryan (USA) / Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 21 vs Philipp Oswald (AUT) / Xenia Knoll (SUI) 22

COURT 8 – 11:30 START

1 Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (PAK) / Jean-Julien Rojer (NED) [9] 9 vs Ken Skupski (GBR) / Neal Skupski (GBR) 11

2 Xinyun Han (CHN) / Luksika Kumkhum (THA) 54 vs Vania King (USA) / Katarina Srebotnik (SLO) [17] 56

3 Nicholas Monroe (USA) / Oksana Kalashnikova (GEO) 53 vs Ken Skupski (GBR) / Anna Smith (GBR) 54

COURT 10 – 11:30 START

1 Roman Jebavy (CZE) / Andres Molteni (ARG) 30 vs Juan Sebastian Cabal (COL) / Robert Farah (COL) [6] 32

2 Sofia Kenin (USA) / Sachia Vickery (USA) 5 vs Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) / Monica Niculescu (ROU) [13] 8

3 Christina McHale (USA) / Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 29 vs Hao-Ching Chan (TPE) / Zhaoxuan Yang (CHN) [7] 32

COURT 14 – 11:30 START

1 Mike Bryan (USA) / Jack Sock (USA) [7] 49 vs Sander Arends (NED) / Matwe Middelkoop (NED) 51

2 Jay Clarke (GBR) / Cameron Norrie (GBR) 5 vs Marcelo Arevalo (ESA) / Hans Podlipnik-Castillo (CHI) 6 T/F 4/6 7/6(5) 7/5 3/4

3 Raquel Atawo (USA) / Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER) [11] 25 vs Tatjana Maria (GER) / Heather Watson (GBR) 28

4 John Peers (AUS) / Shuai Zhang (CHN) 61 vs Hans Podlipnik-Castillo (CHI) / Lidziya Marozava (BLR) 62

5 Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (PAK) / Arantxa Parra Santonja (ESP) 45 vs Andres Molteni (ARG) / Makoto Ninomiya (JPN) 46

COURT 15 – 11:30 START

1 Mandy Minella (LUX) / Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) 37 vs Georgina Garcia Perez (ESP) / Fanny Stollar (HUN) 38

2 Dominic Inglot (GBR) / Franko Skugor (CRO) [15] 41 vs Marcelo Demoliner (BRA) / Santiago Gonzalez (MEX) 44

3 Nikola Mektic (CRO) / Alexander Peya (AUT) [8] 33 vs Mirza Basic (BIH) / Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 35

COURT 16 – 11:30 START

1 Antonio Sancic (CRO) / Andrei Vasilevski (BLR) 38 vs Robin Haase (NED) / Robert Lindstedt (SWE) 39

2 Gabriela Dabrowski (CAN) / Yifan Xu (CHN) [6] 49 vs Shuko Aoyama (JPN) / Jennifer Brady (USA) 51

3 Alicja Rosolska (POL) / Abigail Spears (USA) 14 vs Latisha Chan (TPE) / Shuai Peng (CHN) [5] 16

4 Hugo Nys (FRA) / Shuko Aoyama (JPN) 11 vs Marcus Daniell (NZL) / Nadiia Kichenok (UKR) 12

5 Marcin Matkowski (POL) / Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) 43 vs Divij Sharan (IND) / Alicja Rosolska (POL) 44

COURT 17 – 13:00 START

1 Jonathan Erlich (ISR) / Marcin Matkowski (POL) 61 vs Lukasz Kubot (POL) / Marcelo Melo (BRA) [2] 64

2 Elise Mertens (BEL) / Demi Schuurs (NED) [8] 33 vs Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) / Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 35

3 Robin Haase (NED) / Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 13 vs Franko Skugor (CRO) / Vania King (USA) 14

4 Santiago Gonzalez (MEX) / Raquel Atawo (USA) 51 vs Nicolas Mahut (FRA) / Elina Svitolina (UKR) 52

MATCHES TO BE ARRANGED

NOT BEFORE 17.00

1 Jack Sock (USA) / Sloane Stephens (USA) 59 vs Dominic Inglot (GBR) / Samantha Stosur (AUS) 60

2 Robert Lindstedt (SWE) / Zhaoxuan Yang (CHN) 5 vs Jay Clarke (GBR) / Harriet Dart (GBR) 6

3 Wesley Koolhof (NED) / Elise Mertens (BEL) 29 vs Jamie Murray (GBR) / Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 3

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Dominic Thiem Ousts Rafael Nadal For Maiden Australian Open Semi-Final

Dominic Thiem edged out world number one Rafael Nadal in four sets to reach his first Australian Open semi-final.

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Dominic Thiem (@AustralianOpen - Twitter)

Dominic Thiem edged out Rafael Nadal 7-6(3) 7-6(4) 4-6 7-6(6) to reach the Australian Open semi-finals for the first time. 

 

In a stunning performance, Thiem eventually held his nerve to win all three tiebreaks in the match and secure a place in the last four.

The result means Nadal will lose his world number one if Novak Djokovic can win an eighth Australian Open title in Melbourne.

As for the Austrian, he will meet Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals on Friday.

In a rematch of the Roland Garros final, it was Thiem who had the more aggressive start to the match as he was red-lining the ball across the court and created break point opportunities.

Nadal’s clutch serving remained crucial though to survive the Austrian’s early surge. This was important as Nadal would soon show why he has won 20 grand slam titles as he played his best tennis when it mattered.

A good mix of pace and variety troubled Thiem as the Spaniard earned the first break of the match for a 5-3 lead in the opening set.

Despite the early setback, the Austrian continued to raise his level especially on the backhand side, producing a lot of winners. A forehand return winner sealed the break back immediately on his third opportunity.

Both men would continue to cancel each other out with insane cross-court angles as the opening set went to a tiebreak.

Dominating from the baseline, the 5th seed took control and wrapped up the opening set 7-6(3) in 68 gruelling minutes.

In the second set, Nadal continued to be the aggressor especially on the forehand as he realised how crucial the set was going to be.

An increased amount in unforced errors for Thiem proved costly as the world number one opened up a 4-2 lead in the second set.

But once again, Thiem struck back as a loose and nervy game from the Spaniard saw the Austrian level up at 4-4 in a tense point in the match.

Another tiebreak loomed as Thiem failed to take his chances after Nadal’s uncharacteristic unforced errors. However he didn’t make the same mistakes in the tiebreak as a net cord-forehand combination secured three consecutive points and a two set lead.

A two set advantage was a comfortable lead for Thiem but it doesn’t guarantee victory especially against one of the best competitors tennis has ever seen.

A cleaner set was produced from Nadal as he dug in deep to hold his service games and create some opportunities to break especially off the forehand.

Eventually those opportunities came as a tentative Thiem service game saw Nadal create two set points. A netted baseline shot from the world number 5 saw the Spaniard grab the third set as he roared in delight to the packed Rod Laver Arena crowd.

The momentum was now firmly with Nadal, who had better intensity as the forehand was firing against Thiem’s defensive skills.

However the Austrian’s mental strength has improved and he managed to overcome the Nadal storm by saving two break points as well as gaining the immediate break advantage.

There was trouble for the world number one now as Thiem’s serve was improving as he continued to outsmart and outpower the Spaniard.

Threats of a double break were quickly snuffed out by the 2009 champion and that would soon cost Thiem as he couldn’t serve out the match. The world number one took advantage of the Austrian’s nerves to break for 5-5.

Both men held their nerve afterwards to force a fourth set tiebreak, the third of the day. Yet again it would be Thiem who would win the tie-break as he booked his place in a maiden Australian Open semi-final.

After the match, Thiem declared his delight at one of the biggest victories of his career, “All the match was on a very good level, we both were in great form, that’s what can happen with two players in that form,” the Austrian said in his post-match interview.

I felt I was lucky in the right situations. It’s necessary as he’s one of the greatest of all times, one of the biggest legends in this sport, so you need a little luck to beat him.”

It was a stunning performance which now sees him meet good friend Alexander Zverev for a place in the final. As for Nadal his search for a second Australian Open title continues and could still lose his world number one ranking should Novak Djokovic win his eighth title in Melbourne.

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Australian Open Day 10 Preview: The Quarter-Finals Conclude

Wednesday is highlighted by a rematch of the French Open final from the last two years.

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Rafael Nadal (@atptour - Twitter)

By Matthew Marolf 

 

Rafael Nadal is one win away from securing his world No.1 ranking, though I’m sure he’s much more concerned with being three wins away from winning his record-tying 20th Major title. But standing in his way today is an opponent who has beaten him many times before. The other men’s quarter-final features the 2014 champion and a Next Gen standout who has excelled on the ATP tour, but is yet to make a deep run at a Major. On the women’s side, we have a pair of two-time Major champions against two women looking to reach their first Slam semi-final.

Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Dominic Thiem (5)

This is a marquee quarterfinal between two top five seeds. Nadal leads their head-to-head 9-4, with all but one of those matches taking place on clay. Their only hard court meeting was certainly a memorable one. In the 2018 US Open quarterfinals, they played for almost five hours, and past 2:00am, in a match decided by a fifth-set tiebreak.  Thiem should take a lot of positives from that encounter despite the loss, and he’s only improved his hard court game since that time.

Dominic has won four hard court titles in the past 16 months, including the Masters 1000 event at Indian Wells. And just two months ago, he reached the championship match at the ATP Finals, with wins over Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. This is his first time advancing to the quarters in Australia, but this run is not surprising based on his recent hard court resume. The slower courts in Melbourne this year work to Dominic’s favour, though Rafa will like that temperatures are forecast to rise over the next few days. But with this being a night match, it’ll get rather cool as this match goes on. Nadal has looked good through four rounds here, and passed a stern test supplied by Nick Kyrgios two days ago. However, I think this may be Thiem’s time to shine. He was oh-so-close to beating Nadal in their last hard court match, and he’s a much-improved player since hiring Nicolas Massu as his coach. In what will surely be a highly-competitive affair, I’m tipping Thiem to pull off the upset.

Sascha Zverev (7) vs. Stan Wawrinka (15)

Alexander Zverev (@usopen)

Can this be true? Zverev, who has historically become entangled in long matches during the first week of Majors, has won four rounds here without dropping a set. It’s even more startling when you consider he went 0-3 at the ATP Cup to start the year, where he had terrible troubles with his serve. In his post-match interview on Monday, he spoke of how finding peace in his personal life has lead to good results on court. The 22-year-old has reached his third Slam quarterfinal, and his first off clay. He’ll certainly be the fresher player today, as Stan not only battled an illness last week, but has already played two five-setters.

That includes his comeback victory over Daniil Medvedev two days ago. And Zverev is 2-0 against Wawrinka, with both victories coming on hard courts. But this is a case where experience at this stage of a Major will be crucial, and Stan has plenty of that. This is his fifth quarter-final in Melbourne, and his 18th at all four Majors. Wawrinka has proven himself to be a big-match player, and excels in the best-of-five format. As improved as Zverev’s serve has been this fortnight, Wawrinka remains the bolder and more aggressive player, which is usually critical in matches like this. With that in mind, I like Stan’s chances to return to the Australian Open semi-finals for the first time in three years.

Simona Halep (4) vs. Anett Kontaveit (30)

Simona Halep (@AustralianOpen – Twitter)

The 24-year-old Kontaveit has been a rising WTA star for a few years now, but she appears ready for her big breakthrough. This run has literally come out of nowhere, as an illness forced her to withdraw from the US Open and miss the rest of the 2019 season. Her coach, Nigel Sears, told the media that she was hospitalized for a week and had to undergo surgery. This resulted in a substantial weight loss, and a lack of activity for three or four months. But here she is into her first Major quarter-final, thanks to some impressive play. She dropped just one game to the sixth seed, Belinda Bencic, and came back from a set down to claim a tight match over a talented teenager, Iga Swiatek.

But today Kontaveit runs into an in-form Halep, who has reunited with Darren Cahill and is yet to drop a set at this event. These two players have similar, all-around games, though Halep is a bit more consistent, and a bit more skilled defensively. And Simona is 2-0 against Anett, having comfortably won the four sets they’ve played.  Halep should be favoured to reach her second semi-final in Melbourne.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (30) vs. Garbine Muguruza

Garbine Muguruza (@WeAreTennis – Twitter)

Speaking of Roland Garros and Wimbledon champions in good form, Garbine Muguruza is back. She seems to be rejuvenated with Conchita Martinez back as her coach. When her former coach, Sam Sumyk, missed Wimbledon a few years ago to undergo a medical procedure, Conchita filled in, and coached Muguruza to the title. Garbine split with Sumyk during the offseason, and is playing her best tennis in a few years with Martinez as a full-time coach.

But guess who Sumyk coaches now? That would be Pavlyuchenkova.  This union has also paid immediate dividends, though the 28-year-old Russian has been playing great tennis since the fall. Pavlyuchenkova outplayed a game Angelique Kerber on Monday, extending her record in the fourth round of Majors to 6-1. The problem is she’s 0-5 in Slam quarter-finals. And she’s 1-4 against Muguruza, with the only win coming via a Garbine retirement. Muguruza just has a bit more game than Pavlyuchenkova, and she’s been on fire since overcoming an illness last week. Garbine took out two top 10 seeds in the last two rounds, via scores of 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, and 6-3. While Sumyk will certainly have some sage advance for how to play against Muguruza, I don’t see it being enough considering Garbine’s current level.

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(VIDEO) Roger Federer Pulls Off Houdini Act To Set 50th Djokovic Meeting

Ubitennis is joined by Rene Stauffer to discuss Roger Federer’s miraculous win over Tennys Sandgren at the Australian Open.

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Roger Federer (@atptour - Twitter)

It was another dramatic day at the Australian Open as Roger Federer pulled off a miraculous comeback to edge out Tennys Sandgren 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6(8) 6-3 to reach the Australian Open semi-finals. The Swiss saved 7 match points as he survived the three and a half hour clash to set up a 50th meeting with Novak Djokovic. Below Ubaldo Scanagatta and Rene Stauffer discuss Federer’s miraculous win against Sandgren. 

 

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