Day 9 is the Quarter finals day at the Australian Open and the excitement at Melbourne Park is palpable with an exciting line up of matches.
Local favourite and World number one Ash Barty has her hands full against Petra Kvitova in the first set. The Aussie was able to come through unscathed with some dogged defence in the first set. Kvitova could not keep up the tempo in the second set and gifted a couple of break chances early on. Barty gladly accepted and romped home to become the first Australian woman to reach the last 4 since 1984. The number one seed is scheduled to face off against Sofia Kenin, who beat the big hitting Ons Jabeur, in the semifinal. Jabeur played a high risk game against Kenin hitting 34 winners and 36 unforced errors.
On the men’s side, Milos Raonic had Canadian tennis fans excited with his run of form but everyone knew it would take a monumental effort to beat the Serb. Raonic did not play a bad match by any means, but the defending champions was just too good. He put pressure on the Canadians serve on big points and was able to do just enough to get the service breaks. The third set went to the tiebreak but there was no doubt about who was going to win it.
The stage was set for Roger Federer and Tennys Sandgren to put on a show and they did not disappoint. For the better part of that match, Sandgren looked the player that could knock Federer and deprive the fans of another Federer-Djokovic semis. The Swiss champion won the first set but lost the next two on the back of some unusually weak service games and unforced errors (30 in total across two sets). Defeat looked inevitable in the fourth set when Sandgren had 3 match points on Federer’s serve. The Swiss champion put it down to luck in his post match interview but no one could deny that the American also had a nervous reaction to the possibility of beating the Swiss legend. Federer was able to hold serve and push matters into the tiebreak and Sandgren had a second chance to close out the match. In fact he had 4 chances in the tiebreak but could take none and Federer somehow managed to break out of jail into the fifth set. Sandgren showed signs of fatigue for the first time in the match and Federer was ready to take advantage.
It has not been an easy path to the semis for Federer and he will now have to face his nemesis Novak Djokovic for a place in yet another Australian Open Final.