Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Updated: January 27, 4:39 AM ET
Here's who has threatened Federer's semi streak
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Of all the records Roger Federer owns, his unparalleled Grand Slam semifinals streak is right up there. Talk about consistency.
The supreme Swiss got to 23 Wednesday at the Australian Open, edging a nervy, again, Nikolay Davydenko in four sets.
There have been times, however, when Federer has been threatened in the first week and a half at majors. Yes, true.
Remember these five matches?
Federer versus Janko Tipsarevic, 2008 Australian Open
Tipsarevic is flaky -- and talented -- enough to give any player a run for his money.
The Serb said he entered the third-round encounter without fear, and the result was extending Federer to 10-8 in the fifth set. Federer blasted a then-personal-record 39 aces over four and a half hours.
The tilt ignited a wild Saturday in Melbourne, with Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis getting on court near midnight.
"It was good to be part of something like this," Federer told reporters. "It's a pity you can't have draws in tennis."
Feeling the effects of mono, Federer lost in the semis to another Serb, Novak Djokovic.
Federer versus Tommy Haas, 2009 French Open
Federer gets nervy, too, sometimes.
A day after Rafael Nadal's unexpected exit, Fed was clearly feeling the heat as the tournament favorite, so close to capturing a maiden French Open title to complete his Grand Slam collection.
Federer trailed by two sets to the versatile Tommy Haas and faced a break point at 3-4, 30-40. The tennis gods seemingly with him, Federer went for an inside-out-forehand that painted the line. Haas didn't win another game that set and won only two more altogether.
"When I made the forehand to save the break point in the third, I really felt it could be the turning point," Federer told reporters. "I was really relieved."
Federer did indeed go on to triumph in the final, over Nadal's conqueror, Robin Soderling.
Federer versus Igor Andreev, 2008 U.S. Open
If you can hit through Federer (not many can), you have a chance.
Andreev, who ran into Federer in the first round at this Aussie Open, bullied Federer with his huge forehand in the fourth round at that U.S. Open. He took the opening set in a tiebreaker and almost went up 2-0 in sets, losing the ensuing tiebreaker.
Federer's net play (not long after he had won Olympic gold in doubles with Stan Wawrinka) helped him prevail 6-3 in the fifth.
He approached the net 84 times, claiming 69 percent of points.
"We don't have that many guys at the net anymore," Federer told reporters. "After winning the doubles, I'm a little more confident at the net."
The New York crowd firmly behind him, Federer crushed Andy Murray in the final.
Federer versus Nikolay Davydenko, 2006 Australian Open
Davydenko won't want to think about this quarterfinal as he readies to face Federer again Wednesday. He blew an opportunity.
Tied at one set apiece, Davydenko led 5-3 in the third, unable to serve it out. He failed on a smash that would have given him double set point, and Federer won 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5).
"Got a little lucky in the third set to come out obviously," Federer told reporters. "I think I could have lost in four sets, could have lost in five, could have won in five. Everything would have been possible today, I think."
Davydenko contested a similar tussle against Federer in the French Open semifinals a year later, blowing break leads in each set to lose in three.
Federer versus Nicolas Kiefer, 2005 Wimbledon
At the apex of his Wimbledon reign, Federer was almost taken to a fifth set by Kiefer, a seasoned, versatile competitor who knows how to play on grass.
Three years earlier, Kiefer, a former world No. 4, had upended Federer at a Wimbledon tuneup in Germany.
However, at the 2005 Wimbledon, Kiefer served for the fourth set but couldn't hold his nerve, and Federer progressed in the third round, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 7-5.
"We know each other's game pretty well," Federer told reporters. "I think at times you could see that because we took advantage of each other's game. I have the feeling I should have won in three, but in the end I'm happy to have won in four."
Kiefer took the only set off Federer that fortnight.