Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both managed quarter final victories and will advance to play one another in an epic semi-final showdown on the Australia Day holiday.
Federer defeated Juan Martin Del Potro in what was his 1000th career match. The Swiss World No.3 encountered a competitive first set, taking an initial 3-0 lead but saw that crumble to just a 5-4 advantage. Federer still managed to close out the first set and took the remaining two in slightly easier fashion, 6-3 6-2.
Del Potro entered the match with a poor track record against top-three opponents, winning just one of his nine encounters, the only win coming against Novak Djokovic in last year’s Davis Cup when the World No.1 retired hurt.
Nadal faced a much tougher time but won despite playing with a strained tendon in his right knee throughout the past week.
Against Czech Tomas Berdych, Nadal won 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 6-3 in a gruelling match that lasted four hours and 16 minutes.
After an exciting first set that saw the Czech barely prevail, Nadal squeezed out a close win in the second set before going down 2-0 to start the third. Unfazed, Nadal won the next four games and eventually the match.
Federer and Nadal met in the 2009 Australian Open Final in which Nadal was the comfortable victor. It will be their first meeting since then.
The two have played a total of 26 matches with Nadal having a 17-9 advantage.
Federer is a four time Australian Open champion, winning in 2004, 06, 07 and 10.