Roger Federer booked a semi-final clash with fellow-Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka after overcoming Mischa Zverev at the Australian Open. The 17-time major champion breezed into the last four of a grand slam for a record 41st time after swatting side Zverev 6-1, 7-5, 6-2 in just 93 minutes.
From the moment the 35-year-old claimed the first five games of the match he never looked back as his German opponent, who had overcome Andy Murray in the previous round, was overwhelmed in his first major quarter-final. Federer was pushed all the way in the second set before reeling off the final three games, prior to taking the third without alarm.
In his first grand slam appearance since missing the second half of 2016 due to a knee injury, Federer has eclipsed his own expectations and is on course for his first final in Melbourne since he last won the event in 2010. Wawrinka, who need just three sets to knock out former finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, has only prevailed in three of their previous 21 meetings, with each win coming on clay, but Federer is nevertheless wary for the threat posed by his Davis Cup teammate.
"Stan is a clutch player. He's won a slam the last three years. I have to stay aggressive," said Federer. "The more time I give him the better he is, like most of the big hitters. He's maybe the biggest hitter we have in the game right now. I'm happy that he's got this far but he doesn't need to go one step further!"
"I thought I was maybe going to win a few rounds, maybe get to the fourth round, quarters, depending on the draw. Then when I saw the draw ... I didn't see a dream draw at all. I didn't expect to play this well."
In the women's draw, Venus Williams reached the last four of the Australian Open for the first time in 14 years after ousting Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in two sets. She will face the unseeded Coco Vandeweghe – already a conqueror of world number one Angelique Kerber – for a place in the final, after she defeated French Open champion Garbine Muguruza for the loss of just four games.