Roger Federer is still going strong at age 38, and he finds himself where he almost always is — in the semifinal of another tennis grand slam. But the way he reached the Australian Open semis Tuesday came after one of the most incredible comebacks in Federer’s unparalleled career.
Federer overcame SEVEN match points to defeat Tennys Sandgren, 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-3 — a recovery that stunned even Federer himself.
“Incredibly lucky tonight, or today rather. I don’t even know what time it is,” Federer said after the win.
Tuesday was a hard-fought match for the usually stoic Federer, who received treatment for a groin injury, and even got into it with the chair umpire for cursing. It wasn’t his first close call down under this year, as he trailed John Millman, 8-4, in the fifth-set tiebreak in the third round, only to rally with six consecutive points to close out the victory.
Federer has overcome seven match points before, doing so in 2003 in the Cincinnati Open.
That Federer has performed this miracle — as he called it Tuesday — 17 years apart speaks to his amazing longevity. That Federer is still competing at a grand slam-winning level only adds to his legend.
Federer is in his 15th semifinal in the last 17 years at the Australian Open, a tournament he’s won six times. It’s his 46th career grand slam semifinal, and Federer is looking to add to his 20 grand slam titles. Both are men’s records.
To do so, Federer will first have to face No. 2 Novak Djokovic, the 50th match between the longtime rivals. Djokovic has beaten Federer in their last five grand slam tilts, including the Wimbeldon final in 2019. Federer probably needs whatever magic he can to beat Djokovic on Thursday, if he has any left over after Tuesday’s miracle comeback.