MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 22: Feliciano Lopez of Spain plays a forehand in his fourth round match against Rafael Nadal of Spain during day seven of the 2012 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 22, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Roger Feder and Rafael Nadal appear to be on collision course for Australian Open semifinals.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will both play men's quarterfinals on Day 9 of the Australian Open and appear to be on a collision course for the semifinals. Federer, who is the No. 3 seed, will play Juan Martin Del Porto, the tournament's No. 11 seed. Nadal will play No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych.
Federer comes into his match having not lost a single set during the first four rounds of the tournament. In nine total sets (he did not have to play his second-round match), Federer has lost more than four games in a set just twice and has only had to play one tiebreaker. Argentina's Del Porto has not had it much rougher, as he's won 12 straight sets after dropping the first set he played during the tournament. Since losing the first set to first-round opponent Adrian Mannarino, he has lost more than four games in a set just twice and has yet to play a tiebreaker.
Nadal has been his dominant self. He has won all 12 of the sets he's played and has not dropped more than four games in any set. Berdych has had to fight quite a bit more. He needed three tiebreakers to beat fourth-round opponent Nicolas Almagro 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (2) and six total tiebreakers during the 14 total sets he's played so far.
On the other side of the bracket, No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic and No. 4 seed Andy Murray are clearly the favorites to meet in the semifinals. Djokovic lost his first set of the tournament during his fourth-round match against Lleyton Hewitt but has been otherwise dominant. Other than that third-set loss, he has not dropped more than three games in any set during his first four matches. He'll face No. 5 seed David Ferrer on Day 10. Ferrer needed five sets to beat American Ryan Sweeting in the second round but has looked strong otherwise.
Murray seemingly gets a bit of a break, as he'll face No. 24 seed Kei Nishikori, who upset No. 6 seed Jo-Wielfried Tsonga in the fourth round. Nishikori needed five sets to pull out the victory and was on the court for about 3.5 hours. That was also Nishikori's second five-set match of the tournament and his only straight-set victory was in Round 1. Murray, on the other hand, has won 12 straight sets after losing the first set to his first-round opponent, American Ryan Harrison.
TV: ESPN2 coverage starts at 9 p.m. ET on Monday; Coverage starts at 7 p.m. on ESPN3.