Day 9

Federer sets date with “Stan The Man”

Today’s quarters at the Australian Open featured two men’s and two women’s matches.

Thirteenth seeded Venus Williams is making a silent progress into the event and does not mind her younger sibling take all the accolades. The 36-year-old, seven-time slam winner, has not won an Australian Open title, finishing runner up to sister Serena in the 2003 finals. With her 49th title coming at the Taiwan Open in January 2016, Venus would love to add a 50th career title and a first Australian Open. And she stayed on course, with an emphatic straight sets victory over twenty fourth seed, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia. Venus dropped her serve four times, but still packed a punch in decisive moments to become the oldest woman to reach a grand slam semi-final since Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1994. In her post match statement, Venus revealed that she would like to be champion.

In the next match, Garbine Muguruza couldn’t stop the inform CoCo Vandeweghe from reaching her first grand slam semis. The Spaniard, aiming for her second grand slam crown, after her 2016 French Open triumph, and having not lost a set en-route to the quarters, came a cropper in the second set and lost tamely 4-6,0-6.

As the crowd waited in bated breath to welcome the evergreen Roger Federer to the centre court for his round of 8 match, the German, Mischa Zverev, who is on song after defeating Andy Murray, was hatching a plot to dethrone the 17-time grand slam champion. Before the boisterous crowd could settle in, Federer rattled off the first set in a mere 19 minutes at 6-1, giving no room to Mischa to ply his trade. In the second set, Mischa slowly found his rhythm and broke Federer to lead 3-1. The Swiss magician broke right back to even at 3 games all and both the players held serve until 5-5. Federer broke again in the eleventh game for a 6-5 lead and closed the set at 7-5. He brought his volleying powers to the fore and his net approaches were at a staggering 72%. In the third set, Federer breezed to a 4-2 lead, and in game 7, that lasted almost 10 minutes, saw 10 deuces and 5 break points, Federer produced an immaculate winner to break Misha and served out the match at 6-2 in 1 hour 32 minutes. With 65 winners and 13 unforced errors, Federer has matched the semi-final runs of the previous two major appearances at Melbourne Park and Australian Open in 2016. In his post-match update, Federer was modest in his comments and said he did not expect himself to go this far when he started the tournament.

Stan Wawrinka fought it out against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, with the Swiss coming out winner in three sets, to set up a date with Federer on Thursday. In the absence of the top two seeds and with all the spot lights on Federer and Nadal, the Swiss is quietly going about his business. With his leg’s heavily strapped, one expected Stan to be immobile. But “Stan the Man”, as he is known in the tennis world, matched Tsonga point for point and took the first set in a tie break. Having beaten Stan 3 times out of 7, with the last coming four years ago, Tsonga had to do something different to stop the Swiss. But it was beyond him and lost the next two sets 4-6,3-6.

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