Novak Djokovic insisted he does not feel like he is "dominating" Roger Federer despite not losing a grand slam match against the Swiss in seven and a half years.

Federer has not defeated Djokovic at a major since their Wimbledon semi-final meeting in 2012.

Despite five grand slam wins over Federer since then, four of which have arrived in finals, the Serbian does not feel like he has the upper hand ahead of their meeting in the Australian Open semi-finals on Thursday.

Djokovic insisted the 38-year-old, who won their previous meeting at the 2019 ATP Finals in London, always remains a huge threat on all surfaces.

Asked if he knew the reason for his winning streak against Federer at the majors, he said: "Not particularly, to be honest. 

"Wimbledon last year, he had two match points, he was one shot away from winning that match. It's not like I've been dominating the match-ups. 

"I've had success against him in grand slams in particular. But Roger is Roger. You know that he's always going to play on such a high level, regardless of the surface. 

"I know that whenever we get a chance to play each other, we understand it takes a big effort and it's required from us to come up with the best game in order to win against each other.

"He loves to play these kind of matches, big rivalries, semis, finals of grand slams.

"I mean, he's probably going to confirm that that's probably the biggest reason why he's still competing, to be able to compete at the grand slams against the best players in the world."

Since dropping a set in the first round against Jan-Lennard Struff, Djokovic has recorded four consecutive straight-sets victories, including Tuesday's 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-1) quarter-final triumph over Milos Raonic.

The run has followed his star showing at the ATP Cup, where he led his country to victory and beat Rafael Nadal in the final.

Djokovic is in a confident mood ahead of the match with Federer as he sits two wins away from a record eighth Australian Open title.

The second seed said: "I've been feeling well on the court. If I continue playing the way I was throughout the tournament here and also ATP Cup, I've been building. 

"I think as the time passes by, in every match, I have more confidence, I feel better. 

"In the end of the day, this is the court where I had the most success in my career."

Novak Djokovic was amazed to see Roger Federer save seven match points against Tennys Sandgren at the age of 38.

The Serbian, who will meet Federer on Thursday in the Australian Open semi-finals, marvelled at Federer's ability to stay alive in the competition and feels it proves his greatness.

Djokovic defeated Milos Raonic 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-1) in a routine quarter-final victory, while Federer's path in a 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 win was something out of the ordinary.

"What he did today was really amazing," said Djokovic. "He showed me he's one of the best players of all time.

"I mean, to come back and save seven match points at his age, he's still playing such a great tennis and proving that he deserves to be up there.

"He never gives up. When it matters the most, he's focused and he plays his best tennis. Sandgren had chances. Out of those seven match points, there were five match points where they actually had rallies.

"But credit to Roger. Amazing that he managed to come back. It's not the first time he has done that in his career. That's why he is who he is."

It was pointed out to Djokovic that he had saved six match points in his career against Federer, four across two appearances at the US Open and two in their famous Wimbledon final last year.

But he insisted he could not compare whether that feat was more surprising than the Swiss star surviving seven in the same match on Tuesday.

"I don't know, I can't compare it," he said. "I hope I get to at least one match point in a few days!

"Obviously I have tremendous respect for Roger and everything he has achieved in the sport, definitely one of my two biggest rivals. He's a great fighter.

"I have been saying many times and I'll repeat it again: the matchups against Roger and Rafa [Nadal] have made me the player I am today so I am grateful I have had so many great matches against those guys.

"Hopefully things can come together for me in a positive way on Thursday and I can have a chance to win."

Novak Djokovic will face Roger Federer in the Australian Open semi-finals after the defending champion eased past Milos Raonic in the last eight.

The match was delayed after Federer's clash with Tennys Sandgren went to five enthralling sets, the Swiss great saving seven match points before winning despite being troubled by a groin injury.

Djokovic's progress was far more serene, the world number two dispatching Raonic 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-1) in two hours and 49 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, even though an issue with his eyesight proved problematic in the closing stages.

Raonic had lost all nine of the previous meetings with Djokovic but, having beaten Stefanos Tsitsipas and Marin Cilic en route to the quarter-finals without the loss of a set, the Canadian had reason to feel a little more confident.

Raonic fired down 35 aces against Cilic but Djokovic appeared almost telepathic in his reading of the serve, the world number 35 battling to save five break points to push the Serbian to 5-4 in the first.

Djokovic at last found the breakthrough with his fourth set point in the next game, celebrating with gusto when Raonic sent a forehand wide.

The seven-time champion was looking at ease on court, having made just two unforced errors in the opening 10 games, and he was 4-1 ahead in the second in what seemed no time at all after a brilliant backhand passing shot set him up for another break.

After being upset when some supporters cheered a missed first serve, leading to a double fault, Djokovic responded with a point to his box as he closed out the set for a 2-0 lead.

Raonic regained some of the metronomic rhythm he showed in the earlier rounds but could not put enough pressure on the Djokovic serve, a simple backhand slapped into the net at 3-2 and 30-40 in the third gifting his opponent a way out of possible trouble.

Two stunning defensive shots and a forehand down the line from Djokovic left Raonic looking ashen-faced at the net, and the Serbian bounced his racquet off the court in frustration after failing to break for a 4-3 lead.

Raonic held to love to lead 5-4 after Djokovic took a timeout for a contact lens issue, and he seemed still to be troubled by his vision as he consulted the trainer at the change of ends.

Raonic found four more big serves to stave off break points and a stylish volley made it 6-5, Djokovic's problems persisting despite applying eye drops after the previous game.

Having held serve comfortably to force the tie-break, Djokovic moved 3-0 ahead after Raonic netted a routine forehand, and a similar miss handed Djokovic the win on his first of five match points.

Roger Federer saved seven match points against Tennys Sandgren, who will be left to rue missed chances in their Australian Open quarter-final.

Federer eventually overcame a leg injury and his American opponent 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 in three hours, 31 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

But Sandgren squandered seven match points in the fourth set, including four in an extraordinary tie-break.

We take a closer look at the match points Federer saved.

First match point: Federer serving at 4-5, 40-AD in fourth set
With a second serve to play with, Sandgren gets into the point and a deep backhand is returned by Federer. But the American pulls the trigger too early with his next chance, sending a backhand into the net as he tries to go down the line.

Second match point: Federer serving at 4-5, 40-AD in fourth set
Another second serve to aim at, Sandgren gets into the point, but it is Federer dictating before the American sends a tame forehand wide.

Third match point: Federer serving at 4-5, 40-AD in fourth set
Sandgren manages to get into the point despite a good Federer serve down the middle before hitting the tape with a forehand from behind the baseline.

Fourth match point: Federer serving at 3-6 in fourth-set tie-break
Another Federer second serve, Sandgren controls the first part of the point from the baseline. However, he allows the Swiss great to work his way back into it before putting a backhand into the net as he tried to change direction by going down the line.

Fifth match point: Federer serving at 4-6 in fourth-set tie-break
Federer lands an excellent serve that Sandgren cannot return.

Sixth match point: Sandgren serving at 6-5 in fourth-set tie-break
Finally an opportunity on serve, Sandgren attacks but just cannot do enough with a backhand volley. He reaches for a forehand volley but Federer has an open court to play into to level the tie-break.

Seventh match point: Federer serving at 6-7 in fourth-set tie-break
Once again, Federer misses a first serve. They rally backhand-to-backhand as Sandgren shows good depth before Federer eventually changes the direction during a 19-shot point. But it is a slice that undoes Sandgren, whose return goes halfway up the net.

Roger Federer is hopeful over his injury sustained in the Australian Open quarter-final, labelling it "just pain and problems" after his epic win over Tennys Sandgren.

Federer saved seven match points in a thrilling 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 victory over Sandgren in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The 20-time grand slam champion took a medical timeout during the third set and later revealed his groin was troubling him.

Federer, 38, hopes the worry is minor ahead of a semi-final against either Novak Djokovic or Milos Raonic on Thursday.

"I don't know if you can call it an injury. It's just pain and problems. I need to figure it out now," the Swiss great told a news conference.

"But as it's not like in 18 hours, like you got a third round to play, semi-finals, you have an extra day, adrenaline, there's a lot of things. Two good nights of sleep, doctors, physios.

"Hopefully we'll find out that it's actually nothing bad, that it was just the groin that went really tight from playing a lot, who knows what, from nerves.

"I don't know. I'm hopeful. We'll find out tonight, tomorrow. The next day we'll see how it goes."

Federer has already spent 12 hours and 38 minutes on court, only winning his first two matches in straight sets and being pushed to five twice.

But despite his worries, the six-time champion in Melbourne still believes in his chances of success at the year's first grand slam.

"I mean, look, if I can get through a match like this, through a match like [John] Millman [in the third round], yeah, you do believe," said Federer, who also had treatment on his right hamstring before the final set.

"I only believe it once it's over, I shake the hand of the opponent, that it's over, that it's fine.

"So, yeah, I do always believe until it's actually over, never before."

Tennys Sandgren felt Roger Federer's "level picked up" during the match points he squandered in their epic Australian Open quarter-final.

Federer – battling injury – incredibly saved seven match points before claiming a 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 victory on Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday.

Sandgren was somewhat tentative and Federer gave nothing away during those decisive moments, with the 20-time grand slam champion coming from 6-3 down in the tie-break in the fourth set.

The American, left tired after a battle lasting three hours and 31 minutes, gave credit to Federer.

"I just tried to keep playing it, playing the tennis portion of it," Sandgren told a news conference.

"Like I said, it just seemed like his level picked up when his back was right up against the wall.

"He just wouldn't give me anything. Credit to him, for sure."

Sandgren only had one match point on his own serve, while four came after Federer missed first serves.

The world number 100, who was playing his second grand slam quarter-final, felt the missed opportunities were not as bad as they looked

"One on my serve. Really not that many. If I had, like, six on my serve, I'd be really p***** off," a smiling Sandgren said.

"One on my serve, and I think I made the first serve, he gave it a good stick on the forehand, which is not surprising either, yeah."

Roger Federer is still delivering, but it's all a little different.

After saving seven match points, Federer overcame Tennys Sandgren 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 in an epic Australian Open quarter-final on Tuesday.

It was often scrappy and at times workmanlike, but the Swiss great delivered once more – albeit in a different way – on the grand slam stage.

Federer is a 20-time grand slam champion whose last major success came in 2018 and has two fellow all-time greats standing in his way over and over again on the biggest stage.

So, battling a leg injury which seemed to improve as the match went on, he needed three hours, 31 minutes to beat the American world number 100.

He hit 56 unforced errors and now has 208 for the tournament at an average of 41.6 per match. He had what looked like a soft draw and has turned it into 12 hours, 38 minutes of time on court, including two huge comebacks in five-setters.

It is the first time in his illustrious career that Federer has not faced a top-40 opponent on his way to a grand slam semi-final. Steve Johnson (75), Filip Krajinovic (41), John Millman (47), Marton Fucsovics (67) and Sandgren (100) should not have caused him as many problems as they have.

At 38 and with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, 32 and 33 years old respectively, continually standing in his way, Federer is going to have to deliver in ways other than winning grand slams.

On a slow court and with Djokovic likely awaiting in the semi-finals, his Australian Open chances seem slim even though he is into the last four. Wimbledon is still shaping as his best hope of another grand slam, yet he has thrilled more so than anyone else at the year's first major.

After his win over Millman, when he came from 8-4 down in the match tie-break, Federer said: "I think if I do play tennis it's because of winning titles, trying to win as many matches as possible, enjoy myself out on court but also being in epic matches like this.

"It doesn't always have to be finals, I guess. As long as the crowds are into it, you have a great battle with an opponent who you really admire and respect, it's a good feeling.

"I'm happy I had that match. I hope I would feel the same way also if I would have lost, to be honest."

Crowds are always behind Federer and again it proved on Tuesday at Rod Laver Arena and, if entertainment is the objective, he – and Sandgren – well and truly delivered.

It wasn't vintage Federer, but so what?

Roger Federer was under no illusion that he survived a major scare when coming through his gruelling Australian Open quarter-final with Tennys Sandgren in five sets.

After winning the first set with little fuss, Federer began to struggle and lost the next two 6-2 to the American, requiring a medical timeout when 3-0 down in the third.

With his groin and leg causing Federer discomfort, he was on the brink of defeat in the fourth set, facing a total of seven match points.

But he showed remarkable resilience to fight back and level the contest, with a visibly frustrated Sandgren struggling to keep his emotions in check.

Federer closed out the match, taking the final set to clinch a 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 victory, but he claimed he did not deserve the victory given Sandgren outscored him in terms of aces, overall points and winners.

"You've got to get lucky sometimes, I'll tell you that," a jovial Federer said in his on-court interview. "In those seven match points you're not in control, it may not look that way.

"I don't know, I was just hoping that he wasn't going to smash the winner on that one point, and just keep the ball in play, and if he misses one or two, who knows what he's thinking about?

"Even that didn't really matter. I think he played his match, I got incredibly lucky and then as the match went on, I started to feel better again.

"All the pressure went away, and I started to play. Again, I got a little lucky with the breaks and served really well I think for most of the game, particularly at the end.

"I don't deserve this one, but I'm standing here and obviously very happy.

"I don't like calling the trainer, ever, because it's a sign of weakness and all that stuff, and I try not to show it. The best is when it's a groin [injury], so you go off court and no one knows what it is.

"I just said, 'I believe in miracles'. It could rain, there could be stuff [happening]. It [the injury] wasn't bad enough where I thought it was going to get worse, I was just stiff and tight – [I was thinking] 'let him finish me off in style', and he didn't do that, so I'm incredible lucky today, tonight… I don't even know what time it is."

The 20-time grand slam winner will face either Milos Raonic or defending champion Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals and, while the prospect of facing the latter when not 100 per cent fit is by no means kind, Federer is ready to embrace whatever happens after riding his luck.

"The draws are not getting easier, but I've got the rest of the day with nothing to do, the next day with nothing to do and then I'm playing at night. You do feel better in a couple of days and then you never know," he said.

"With these lucky escapes, you might play without any expectations anymore because you know you should already be skiing in Switzerland! I'm lucky to be here and might as well make the most of it."

Roger Federer produced an epic comeback in the Australian Open quarter-finals, saving seven match points in a win over Tennys Sandgren.

The 20-time grand slam champion appeared set for a shock loss in Melbourne, battling a leg injury from the third set onwards on Rod Laver Arena.

Instead, he delivered a spectacular comeback, reaching the semi-finals with a 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 victory that was special even by his standards across three hours, 31 minutes.

Federer saved seven match points in the fourth set, including coming from 6-3 down in the tie-break, having needed a medical timeout.

The 38-year-old moved into his 46th grand slam semi-final and became the oldest man to get into the last four at the Australian Open since Ken Rosewall in 1977.

After squandering five early break point chances, Federer took his sixth when Sandgren sent a backhand long in the sixth game.

While Federer closed out the opener, a flurry of errors saw him give up a break and fall 3-0 behind to begin the second.

Federer committed 15 unforced errors in the second set – eight from the backhand side – as Sandgren levelled the match.

The Swiss great's struggles continued into the third, broken in the second game when he sent a tame forehand into the net.

Sandgren came from 0-40 down in the third game of the set, during which a frustrated Federer was given an audible obscenity warning before receiving treatment off the court.

Struggling physically, Federer tried to hang in there before giving up the set with a backhand into the net.

Mixing his game up, Federer fought hard against a seemingly undistracted Sandgren in the fourth set before saving three match points in the 10th game as the American faltered.

Sandgren put two match point opportunities into the net and sent another wide before saving a break point to take a 6-5 lead.

In an extraordinary tie-break, Federer came from 6-3 down and saved four more match points to force a decider as the Rod Laver Arena crowd erupted.

Federer had his right hamstring treated before the fifth set and he appeared far more mobile as he took control of the contest.

A break for 4-2 set him up and he had no trouble closing it out, an unreturnable serve wrapping up the amazing comeback.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN 
Roger Federer [3] bt Tennys Sandgren 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS  
Federer – 44/56
Sandgren – 73/53

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS  
Federer – 5/3
Sandgren – 27/5

BREAK POINTS WON  
Federer – 2/13
Sandgren – 4/14

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE  
Federer – 65
Sandgren – 65

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE  
Federer – 71/53
Sandgren – 79/45

TOTAL POINTS  
Federer – 160
Sandgren – 161

It is getting to the business end of the Australian Open for Roger Federer, who meets Tennys Sandgren in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.

Federer banished the demons of last year's shock fourth-round exit by topping Marton Fucsovics in Melbourne on Sunday.

A 20-time grand slam winner and six-time champion at Melbourne Park, Swiss maestro Federer is eyeing his first major title since the 2018 Australian Open.

As Federer prepares for the last eight, we look at the 38-year-old's form.

 

Form and results

Like his five-setter with John Millman, Federer dropped the opening set against Fucsovics on Sunday. However, third seed Federer managed to avoid going the distance as he steamrolled his unheralded Hungarian opponent in two hours, 11 minutes. The veteran used 44 winners to vanquish Fucsovics under the Rod Laver Arena lights.

R1: bt Johnson 6-3 6-2 6-2
R2: bt Krajinovic 6-1 6-4 6-1
R3: bt Millman 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8)
R4: bt Fucsovics 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2

Next up

Sandgren finds himself in a familiar position. The 28-year-old will contest his second Australian Open quarter-final following his 2018 run. Sandgren upstaged 12th seed Fabio Fognini in four sets on Sunday. This will be the first meeting between Sandgren and Federer.

Draw

A blockbuster semi-final against defending champion Novak Djokovic is on the horizon for Federer. Djokovic must see off Milos Raonic to make that happen. The iconic pair played out a remarkable Wimbledon final, won by Djokovic, last year.

What he said

"I'm very happy how I'm feeling considering my age, considering everything I've gone through throughout my career. The toughness of the first real tough match of the season for me after having not played these kinds of matches for some time, it's nice to see that the work I did in the off-season paid off."

Roger Federer is preparing to face an enigma when he tackles Tennys Sandgren in the Australian Open quarter-finals, and the American even admits: "Maybe I shouldn't be here."

Sandgren is the world number 100 but has an unusually strong record against top-10 opponents, scoring wins over Stan Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem, Fabio Fognini and, earlier in this tournament, Matteo Berrettini.

The 28-year-old from Tennessee only made his grand slam main-draw debut in 2017 and is, by modern tennis standards, a late developer.

In 2014, he lost a Challenger Tour match to Britain's Marcus Willis, who famously chomped on a chocolate bar and sipped a cola drink rather than elect for snacks more usually associated with professional sport stars.

That match was highlighted, raking up bad memories for Sandgren, when Willis made a name for himself in 2016 at Wimbledon, the genial home player taking on Federer in a highly entertaining but one-sided second-round match on Centre Court.

Now, though, it is Sandgren's turn to tackle the 20-time grand slam winner, and their clash should be competitive.

"I wonder why he's not ranked higher, to be honest," Federer said of Sandgren. "Every time I see him play, I feel like he plays very well. He's got a lot of stuff in his game that [means] he's deserving of being higher.

"I'm looking forward to that match because I've seen him play a lot but never played him."

Sandgren repeated his 2019 Wimbledon win over Fognini to sink the Italian's hopes over four sets in Melbourne on Sunday, and Federer took the chance to watch, predicting "a tough one" next.

For his part, Federer overcame a sluggish start to see off Marton Fucsovics 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2, with any effects of his late-night battle with John Millman in the third round seemingly shaken off.

Sandgren was asked why he has shown himself capable of doing well on the big occasion.

"Maybe because I haven't had that many," Sandgren said. "Maybe I haven't had that many looks or wasn't supposed to.

"Maybe I shouldn't be here. The fact that I am, I get kind of amped up. I want to perform. I want to do well. I don't want to take the time on the court for granted.

"Getting to play in a big stadium, getting to play in front of a lot of people, because I've played a lot of tennis in front of very few people, that seems to bring out the best tennis in me."

Sandgren's big shot is his serve, as Federer has observed.

The Swiss has taken down many a player with a booming serve in the past, yet he has also been struck by other areas of Sandgren's game, saying: "He can counter-punch but also likes to go on the attack."

Sandgren spoke of how he spent his early years in tennis "not sniffing these opportunities" and claimed: "There are better players than me that I played with in Futures and Challengers that have stopped playing because they just ran out of money or got injured.

"There's definitely a world where it didn't work out [for me]. Some of the margins were pretty small for me to have some of these opportunities. I definitely don't take it for granted."

He was also reminded of the Willis match, which took place on an indoor court in front of a spartan crowd.

"I did not feel great after that one. He downed an RC Cola and a Snickers and took me out," Sandgren recalled. "I had a few of those where it's like, 'What are you doing? Is this ever going to be worthwhile?'"

Tennys Sandgren will play Roger Federer in the Australian Open quarter-finals after beating Fabio Fognini in a tense affair on Sunday.

The American triumphed in four sets - three of which went to tie-breaks - to knock out the 12th seed and book a meeting with Federer, who dispatched Marton Fucsovics after a nervy start.

There were few signs of the jitters for Novak Djokovic against Diego Schwartzman, while Milos Raonic's relentless serving strength saw him power past 2018 finalist Marin Cilic.

Canadian Raonic said he felt "pretty damn good" after a straight-sets win that included 35 aces, although he admitted he will need even more to beat defending champion Djokovic next.

 

SANDGREN FIGHTS THROUGH FOGNINI FRUSTRATION

Sandgren traded winners and barbs with Fabio Fognini before prevailing 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 to seal his second Australian open quarter-final berth.

Tempers frayed across four entertaining sets on Melbourne Arena, with the American becoming upset at his opponent's stalling tactics.

Fognini, the 12th seed, argued with the umpire, took a lengthy bathroom break and asked for a medical timeout to treat blisters all before the third set, leading Sandgren frustrated.

"He gets his own rules because you're afraid to step on his toes," the world number 100 told the umpire after taking the opener.

Sandgren, who lost to Chung Hyeon in the last eight two years ago, regained his composure and went on to complete the upset in three hours and 27 minutes.

FEDERER FINDS FORM AFTER EARLY WOBBLE

Federer seemed to be feeling the effects of his epic five-set victory over John Millman as Fucsovics took an early lead on Rod Laver Arena.

However, the 38-year-old recovered in supreme style and seemed somewhere close to his best tennis at the end of a 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2 victory.

As the full repertoire of shots from Federer began to paint the lines, Fucsovics had little response.

The 20-time major champion is now looking forward to a first meeting with Sandgren. "I have played a lot of tennis in my life, but never against Tennys," he said.

DJOKOVIC POWERS PAST SCHWARTZMAN

Djokovic produced another dominant display to dismantle Schwartzman 6-3 6-4 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena, where the world number two kept his title hopes alive.

While Schwartzman fought hard, it was another routine outing for Djokovic - who reached his 11th Australian Open quarter-final.

Djokovic was broken for the first time since the opening round but was never really in danger, hitting 38 winners and 31 unforced errors.

"Today was a good test because Diego was in form, he hasn't dropped a set in three rounds," the Serbian said afterwards.

"Obviously he can be a very dangerous opponent from the baseline if you give him time. I knew that. I stepped out on the court with a clear game plan what I need to do."

RAONIC TAKES DOWN CILIC

It rained aces as 32nd seed and former world number three Raonic beat former runner-up Cilic 6-4 6-3 7-5.

Raonic progressed to his fifth quarter-final in Melbourne after firing down 35 aces and winning all of his service games in two hours and 19 minutes.

His reward? A showdown with Serbian superstar Djokovic, who boasts a dominant 9-0 head-to-head record.

"I'm going to have to serve well clearly, and then I think I'm going to have to get my return at a high percentage, make him play a lot of those points, and then try to be efficient on my service games," Raonic said in his news conference.

"I think we play quite opposite from each other, and he's done a good job in the past neutralising my serve. So I have really got to focus on my things well and be the one dictating."

Roger Federer again recovered from a poor opening set to progress to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Sunday.

The 20-time grand slam champion lifted his game after a sluggish start to beat Marton Fucsovics 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena.

Federer battled back from the brink in round three to defeat John Millman in a final-set tie-break, and many were left wondering whether playing more than four hours and finishing at 0048 local time on Friday would take its toll.

He certainly seemed several steps off the pace in a lacklustre first set, but Federer duly responded to produce some of his best tennis of the tournament to claim his 101st Australian Open match win against the world number 67.

Federer will face Tennys Sandgren in the last eight, with a semi-final showdown against Novak Djokovic still on the horizon.

Too many wayward shots saw Federer give up the first set to Millman, and Sunday's match followed a similar pattern as Fucsovics threatened an upset.

The Hungarian appeared untroubled by the Federer backhand slice and looked comfortable when trading blows from the baseline before breaking in game seven after a series of errors from the Swiss.

With the crowd clearly left uneasy by his pedestrian start, Federer raced into control of the second set, holding to love and breaking for the first time when Fucsovics sent a forehand long.

Having survived a scare on serve, Federer moved 5-1 ahead after a useful net cord before serving out the set with more customary precision.

By now in full flow, Federer began the third with a showcase of his variety, a thumping winner and a sublime drop shot - both from the backhand - teeing up a break that Fucsovics handed to him with a foolhardy slice.

Two break points came and went for Fucsovics after a brilliant Federer forehand yielded the most emphatic fist-pump of the evening from the 38-year-old, whose movement across the court belied the marathon match he played just 48 hours earlier.

Fucsovics did move back to 4-2 after a loose game from Federer, but he mistakenly let a mishit lob land on the line to hand back another break, and the six-time champion closed out with a crisp volley.

With everything falling into place for Federer - he was even four from four on Hawk-Eye challenges - Fucsovics lost heart as a first double fault of the match and some overhit ground strokes left him 2-5 down.

Fucsovics had seemed troubled by the tension of his racket strings as the evening waned, but there was no such anxiety within the packed crowd, the roars a fitting way to end Australia Day as Fucsovics sent a forehand into the net on the third match point.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN 
Roger Federer [3] bt Marton Fucsovics 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 
Federer – 44/36
Fucsovics – 15/35

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 
Federer – 5/0
Fucsovics – 1/1

BREAK POINTS WON 
Federer – 7/12
Fucsovics – 2/9

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE 
Federer – 61
Fucsovics – 47

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE 
Federer – 76/53
Fucsovics – 57/53

TOTAL POINTS 
Federer – 109
Fucsovics – 83

Roger Federer can banish the memories of last year's fourth-round Australian Open exit with victory against Marton Fucsovics on Sunday.

Federer was sent packing by Stefanos Tsitsipas in 2019 - the 20-time grand slam champion's earliest elimination from Melbourne Park since 2015.

The quarter-finals are on the horizon, though a lot will depend on how Federer recovers from his marathon third-round encounter.

We take a closer look at Federer's form ahead of his meeting with Fucsovics.

Form and results

It was all routine for Federer until Friday's marathon five-setter against local favourite John Millman, who stunned the Swiss maestro at the 2018 US Open. Federer survived a huge scare, rallying from a set down and reeling off six successive points to get past Millman in an epic contest to bring up a century of Australian Open match wins, despite a whopping 82 unforced errors after more than four hours on court.

R1: bt Johnson 6-3 6-2 6-2
R2: bt Krajinovic 6-1 6-4 6-1
R3: bt Millman 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8)

Next up

Fucsovics can look forward to a date with Federer. The unheralded Hungarian matched a career-best fourth-round appearance at a slam – again at Melbourne Park – after upstaging American sensation Tommy Paul in straight sets on Friday. World number 67 Fucsovics has already eliminated 13th seed Denis Shapovalov and Jannik Sinner this month. Fucsovics and Federer have met once before at the Australian Open, the latter triumphing in the last 16 two years ago.

Draw

Federer – eyeing a record-equalling seventh Australian Open title – is on track for a blockbuster semi-final with defending champion Novak Djokovic. It all depends on whether Federer can get past Fucsovics and either 12th seed Fabio Fognini or Tennys Sandgren in the quarters.

What he said

"I think if I do play tennis it's because of winning titles, trying to win as many matches as possible, enjoy myself out on court but also being in epic matches like this. Doesn't always have to be finals, I guess. As long as the crowds are into it, you have a great battle with an opponent who you really admire and respect, it's a good feeling. I'm happy I had that match tonight. I hope I would feel the same way also if I would have lost."

Roger Federer shrugged off questions about his high unforced error count after he survived a massive Australian Open scare from John Millman. 

Federer appeared destined for a third-round exit when he fell behind 8-4 in the decisive match tie-break at the end of the fifth set.

Millman had come from two sets to one down to move within two points of victory, but Federer rattled off six successive points to seal his 100th win at the Australian Open 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8) in four hours and three minutes.

The 20-time grand slam champion prevailed despite hitting 82 unforced errors, 48 of them coming off the forehand side.

Asked about that number in his post-match media conference, Federer replied: "I mean, honestly, nothing against the statistics people, but over a four-hour match you're going to hit unforced errors.

"What is an unforced error? Is it when it comes at 120 [kilometres] an hour or 135 or you're on the stretch? So, for me, he pushed me to go for more.

"You know me – I'm not going to hold back and just rally all the time. I will always try to make plays, and for that, I will miss some.

"Of course, sometimes I wish I could have maybe hit a few more winners instead of unforced errors, but, you know, it shows how slow the courts can be, as well, you know, how many rallies get created, how he didn't serve and volley once.

"I served and volleyed maybe what, 10 times? Five times? It's that crazy at these moments. When you can come in and you play serve and volley and, you know, volley errors don't count I don't think ever, and rally errors always count. So, there you go."

Federer was effusive in his praise for Millman, who defeated the Swiss at the 2018 US Open.

"I just think he's just so, so tough from the baseline. He's got sort of good speed on the backhand, on the forehand," added Federer when asked why Millman is such a tough opponent.

"The way he hits it makes it, for me, unsure if I should pull the trigger or I shouldn't. Is it there to be hit or not? Every time I get a ball, I'm in two ways, because I have the option to do that with my game, but then he covers the court very well.

"Because he hits it hard enough, maybe it's harder for me to find [an] angle. I think the biggest problem for me was just I wasn't able to get… I was not returning poorly, per se; I was just not getting into those neutral rallies, finding the ways to unlock him.

"That's his credit. He's a great player. He's got great attitude, and that's why I mumbled something to him at the net just saying, 'I have so much respect for you, and it's such a pity, I'm so sorry, but well played', and all that stuff, because I really feel that way for John."

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