Roger Federer too much for Andy Murray at Australian Open
Defending champion Azarenka upset in women's draw
Roger Federer rekindled his dominance over Andy Murray in Grand Slam matches and advanced to his 11th consecutive Australian Open semifinal with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 win Wednesday.
Federer clinched it on his third match point with an ace to set up a showdown with top-ranked Rafael Nadal, who beat Grigor Dimitrov 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (7), 6-2.
Two of the leading contenders on the men's side survived on a day when two-time defending champion Victoria Azarenka was beaten 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 by Agnieszka Radwanska in the women's quarter-finals.
Both Nadal and Federer were certainly had nervous moments.
Murray, who saved two match points in the third-set tiebreaker, has an 11-10 edge over Federer in head-to-head matches and won their last match in five sets in the Australian Open semifinals last year, but Federer has won four of five matches in majors.
The Wimbledon champion got angry after a ruling while dropping serve late in the third set when he indicated that he thought the ball had bounced twice before Federer kept it in play. It sparked his resurgence, breaking Federer when the 17-time major winner was serving for the match, and then pushing it to a fourh when he won the last six points in the tiebreaker.
After spending three months off the circuit following minor back surgery, Murray appeared to be in discomfort at times in the match, clutching at his lower back.
"I was proud of the way I fought," Murray said.
After Federer won the opening game of the fourth set, the two played a 10-deuce game in which Murray saved six break points before Murray leveled. But Federer finally broke Murray in the eighth game then held serve to win the match in 3 hours, 20 minutes.
"I'm probably one of the guys who misses more break-point opportunities than other guys so I'm kind of used to it," Federer said. "You stay positive -- give yourself a chance."
Azarenka's 18-match winning streak at the Australian Open ended to continue the flow of stars tumbling out of the season's first major.
Fifth-seeded Radwanska ended her own streak of three consecutive quarter-final defeats at the Australian Open with a stunning display of versatile shot-making that shocked and confused the big-hitting Azarenka.
The result means both defending champions were out in the quarter-finals — Novak Djokovic in five sets to Stan Wawrinka the previous night.
Azarenka's defeat also followed the fourth-round exits of top-ranked Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova and leaves 2011 French Open champion Li Na as the only major winner remaining in the women's draw.
Radwanska next plays No. 20 Dominika Cibulkova, who won the last eight games in a one-hour, 6-3, 6-0 quarterfinal rout of No. 11-seeded Simona Halep.
Li will play 19-year-old Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the other semifinal.
Radwanska played drop shots and slices from the baseline, forcing Azarenka to come forward and then lobbing or passing her, and hit touch volleys with calm precision. She didn't fall into big-swinging rallies against the second-seeded Azarenka, either, continually mixing it up and saving the power for when she needed it.
She was also safe on her own serve, dropping just two games in the two-hour match while breaking Azarenka six times. She hadn't beaten Azarenka in their last seven matches and had only won three of their previous 13.
"I said to myself one day I have to have one step forward and do the semifinal, and I'm so, so happy that I did it finally," Radwanska said of her first run to the semis of a major on hard courts. She reached the final at Wimbledon in 2012 and the semifinals last year.
"I knew she's very great player, very consistent," Radwanska said. "I just had to play my best tennis, even better and play aggressive and go for every shot I could."
Azarenka went down in a flurry of unforced errors, making 47 as she tried to claw her way back into the match.
She seemed to have momentum at the end of the second set, when she levelled after breaking Radwanska in the last game. But she didn't carry it through, pushing a forehand fractionally too wide on the first point and unsuccessfully challenging the out call.
It was a sign of things to come. She won only 14 points in the third set, and was broken three times.
She was booed late in the match, when she smashed a ball into the back of the court after another frustrating error. She screamed loudly after losing big points to the incredibly consistent Radwanska.
"She played well," Azarenka said, when asked about her obvious frustration on court. "I don't think I played my best tennis, but it didn't make me angry."
"My game wasn't there today as I wanted it to. But she definitely played really well."