Federer wins Murray dog fight, Nadal gets lucky

Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:34am EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Roger Federer's revival gathered pace as he edged Andy Murray in a late-night dog fight to set up a blockbuster Australian Open semi-final with world No.1 Rafa Nadal who earlier on Wednesday had rode his luck to beat Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.

Swiss Federer played sublime tennis to open a two-set lead over Murray but had to withstand a late charge from Briton before claiming a 6-3 6-4 6-7(6) 6-3 win in the first "Big Four" clash of the year.

Nadal had dug himself out of a hole to suppress an inspired Dimitrov, winning 3-6 7-6(3) 7-6(7) 6-2 after his opponent had squandered a golden chance to win the third set.

Victoria Azarenka could only blame herself after she was earlier shown the door 6-1 5-7 6-0 by Agnieszka Radwanska to leave the tournament without a defending champion in the last four of either draw for the first time in the professional era.

After ending Azarenka's hopes of a third straight title, Radwanska will face Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova, who crushed Simona Halep 6-3 6-0, to decide who meets China's Li Na or Canadian teenager Genie Bouchard in the final.

With Tomas Berdych meeting Novak Djokovic's conquerer Stan Wawrinka in the first men's semi-final on Thursday, the winner of the Nadal-Federer clash will like their chances of adding another grand slam title to their considerable hauls.

"It's going to be a good match," 32-year-old Federer, who had reached only one grand slam semi-final since claiming a 17th major title by beating Murray in the 2012 Wimbledon final, told reporters of Friday's next installment of his Nadal rivalry.

"It's going to be brutal and all those things. Looking forward to slugging it out with him in a couple of days."   Continued...

Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates defeating Andy Murray of Britain in their men's singles quarter-final tennis match at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 22, 2014. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic