Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer set up semifinal clash

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Melbourne, Australia (4E Sports) – World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and former top-ranked player Roger Federer arranged a blockbuster semifinal clash at the Australian Open after surviving separate rivals in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round.

Federer overcame a gutsy Andy Murray, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3, to reach the last four at Melbourne Park for the 11th year in a row.

“It’s really a big pleasure for me being back in the semi-finals,” said Federer. “This one feels different because of the tougher times I’ve had in slams, Wimbledon, at the US Open. It’s nice to be back in the semis and defend my points from last year.

Nadal, for his part, held off an enthralling challenge from Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday at the Australian Open to advance to the semi-finals via a 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(7), 6-2 win.

Federer has lost his past four meetings against Nadal and trails their head-to-head showdown, 10-22, but the Swiss is hopeful that new coach Stefan Edberg can give him the edge in their 33rd meeting.

“I’m happy I get a chance to play him in a slam again,” said Federer. “I’m looking forward to speaking to Stefan, because when we spoke together when he came to Dubai and we spoke about the game, we clearly spoke about playing Rafa, as well.”

The 32-year-old Federer is bidding to win his 18th Grand Slam championship and fifth title at Melbourne Park, having lifted the trophy in 2004, 2006-07 and 2010, when he beat Murray in the final. His last major triumph came 18 months ago at Wimbledon, where he also prevailed over Murray.

In his 22nd Grand Slam semifinal, the 27-year-old Nadal is looking to win the title for the second time after victory in 2009. He finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic in the 2012 final.

On the women’s side, Agnieszka Radwanska snapped a seven-game losing streak against Victoria Azarenka and advanced to the semifinal via a 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 victory.

Radwanska finished the two-hour match with 23 winners to 15 unforced errors while Azarenka hit 33 winners but piled up 47 unforced errors.

For a spot in the final, Radwanska will take on Dominika Cibulkova.

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