Sue Barker introduces highlights of the semi-final match between Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka. Commentary by Andrew Castle and John Lloyd.
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Hello, the Australian Open has reached the semifinal stage and the
Swiss are on a roll. Roger Federer, winner of 17 Grand Slam titles,
takes on compatriot Stan Wawrinka, who has three majors to his name.
For one of them, another place in a Grand Slam final weights. Tennis,
like life, is all about timing. -- a place in a Grand Slam final weights.
Time and time again... COMMENTATOR: Back in the big time.
True tennis greatness. The third Swiss to win a major. At times, this
performance was genius. He can absolutely batter the ball. Pure
delight for the whole of Switzerland. What a time to do it.
The greatest of all time? We can expect precision timing over
the next hour. We have that match coming up. Before the two Swiss
greats came unto God, we went back in time to honour one of the greats
of the past, Australian Rod Laver. The only player to have one tennis's
Grand Slam twice was honoured with the order of Australia.
Federer has had the better of their meetings, he has won all 13 of their
hard court meetings. They will see their own pictures along the
corridor as they make their way out onto court. 20 Grand Slam between
them and Federer has the lion's share, with 17, but Wawrinka's three
have all come since Federer's last one.
Your commentators are Andrew Castle and John Wood.
COMMENTATOR: I'm not sure there's any future in trying to take a high
ball on the backhand side. There are many times he struggled with Rafael
Nadal on that one. If there is any area of weakness, even a marginal
one, it could be up high on the backhand side.
You can see how early Federer is trying to take this ball in the
rally, he is trying to get ahead of his opponent quickly in these
points. The timing has to be absolutely precise. He has missed
two backhands in this game in trying to do that.
As soon as he has lost that point, though, at 0-15, 15-30 can he
serve-volleys. It's all very aggressive at the moment. Watching a
35-year-old Roger Federer with all his talent and records, watching him
trying to find a way against this US Open champion, it's quite thrilling.
There have been so many years when it came so easily for Federer,
everybody dismissed with a wave of the magic wand of his right hand.
But now you sense that he is hanging on and he wants another major
highlight, but he has got trouble here. As the camp Luxon, a break
point at a time to Wawrinka. I mean, that is virtually a
half-volley on a break point down! Yes he was moving onto the ball and
it was short and Wawrinka will be disappointed, but to take that ball
on, to get your opponent on the run, as Federer did, break point down...
Courageous. He may not have age on his side,
Federer, but he has a record on his side that Irene Coe will be aware
of. Federer has won 13 and lost none against Wawrinka on hard courts.
UMPIRE: Federer is challenging the call on the right baseline. I
thought Wawrinka might have challenged earlier on on the second
serve actually, but he didn't. This ball was moving quickly. It went
through the air fast and landed either on the line or just behind.
Federer has stopped the rally, and he was right to do so. And that is a
well held game. 6-5 Federer, first set.
And he has threaded the ball down the line, Federer, who saved a break
point in the previous game. By correctly challenging a ground
stroke by Wawrinka on his own baseline, he might have stopped this
rally earlier. Threads the line, beautiful.
Oh! That is a great response from Wawrinka. Not an easy poll, John.
Heavy forehand from Federer. Again, this aggressive mode he is income
coming in. Took that just early enough to be able to dip its down
low, create that winner. LINE JUDGE: Out!
UMPIRE: The ball was called out. Mr Wawrinka challenging the call. Both
players came in absolutely ready. Federer had beaten Berdych and
Nishikori in five sets. Wawrinka has felt the fire, he beat Martin Klizan
in five sets in the first round. So, these are the moments that
decide a match. LINE JUDGE: Out! This is a vital
challenge, this one. Federer looked a little bit unsure himself, from
his reaction after this ball. This is big.
Having saved a break point in the previous game, Roger Federer with a
set point. Cheeky slice down the line, changing
direction and changing the spin! Federer has nicked the first set and
that is what it was, 50 minutes and seven games to five in this
committee 's 41st Grand Slam semifinal. The old man is doing
First blood to the four-time champion Federer. How will Wawrinka
react? Here he is 3-2 down on serve in the second set.
Well, it was close. Federer so aggressive on that serve, four feed
inside the baseline taking that second serve. Yes, court it -- he
caught it. CHEERING
That is amazing. It's hard to believe, looking at this match, that
Roger Federer could sort of bully someone like Stan Wawrinka, but that
is what his game plan has been, to be extremely aggressive, take the
ball on early, serve and volley, mix it up and not give Wawrinka time to
breathe, and that is what has been happening so far. It is a 99th match
at the Australian Open for Roger Federer. Only Jimmy Connors has
played 100 in a slam, in fact he did it at Wimbledon and the US Open. He
has been around a bit, Roger Federer. And this vast wealth of
experience, and we've been talking about that slice and that chip
backhand from Federer, the slice down the line just changing the look
to Wawrinka, it won him the first set and now it has brought him to
break at a key moment. Stan Wawrinka on a 12 match winning
streak at these Grand Slam championships. The last man to beat
him at a slam, Juan Martin del Potro at Wimbledon in the second round.
So, the reigning US Open champion under the cosh, second point.
And the racket takes a hammering and you can understand why. Wawrinka now
a set and they break down and the dream lives on for Federer. Six
months away from the game coming into this. What a story Roger
Federer is creating here. We didn't know whether he could win
back-to-back matches over five sets against the big guys. But the
victory over Berdych in straights and then Nishikori in five has got
Federer believing. There's a bit of eight, whatever the substance is,
holding that together. It's an automatic warning. It's a bit of a
silly system for me. He hasn't harmed anybody, apart from the
racket. I could do that, titanium knees, no problem!
APPLAUSE I'm not sure there's ever been a
better front runner in the game than Roger Federer. Just hitting the
surface and zipping into the back fence.
He has just tapped his knee there, I'm not sure if that was the knee he
used to break that racket, but... Federer only played seven tour
events last year. He injured his knee a day after the semifinal of
the Australian Open, so a year ago, he had arthroscopic knee surgery in
February and carried on until Wimbledon, the semifinal for him.
Then he called it quits. So, six months without hitting a ball. Most
people would take three or four weeks, or even months, to get back
to winning ways. But he just slotted straight back in. Incredible.
Well, how can BOOING
-- how can Wawrinka respond to this? For consecutive games for Roger
Federer, a set and 5-2 up in this semifinal. Akram Byas seats quickly,
please, thank you. UMPIRE: Seats, quickly, please.
Thank you. Stan Wawrinka, who has won all three
of his Grand Slam championships since Roger Federer last won is,
which was the 2012 Wimbledon, the match against Andy Murray, where
Andy cried at the end, you remember? Stan has had such great success, he
will rise to number three in the world by the end of this tournament.
But he has a mountain to climb here. A set and 5-2 down.
Federer is just charging in where ever he feels like! I thought he had
no chance there and he actually should have made that volley. The
easiest folly he has had in this match, he has lobbied superbly other
than that one. He just needs to keep concentrating. It's almost as though
he has just taken his foot off the gas and he is preparing for the next
service game. Some players approach the match in that way, Jimmy Connors
never used to. But Federer constructs his matches in a slightly
different way. It can be dangerous to just see the
momentum to the other player in this situation -- to just cede momentum
to the other player. So Federer will be pleased he won that point. Former
world number two there and an Australian Open semifinalist in
2000. He has done a fantastic job with
Stan Wawrinka, but they might need to work on the rallies! He is
forcing himself to come in a bit more now, Wawrinka, to try to take
the net away from Federer. It's not a place he's very comfortable with.
It was in 2000 where his coach, Magnus Norman, made the semifinal,
and Federer picked up his first Grand Slam win, at this tournament,
17 years ago. But he wants to forget all about that now and concentrate
on what is at hand, the chance of going to sets to love up.
Wawrinka's parents and agent, as well as coach, there.
Amazing! A hold to love, two sets to love now for Mr Federer.
Wawrinka really up against it now and also struggling with a knee
injury and having a medical time-out at the end of the second set. Let's
join it with Federer two sets to love up and serving at 1-2.
APPLAUSE Well, three break points! How
quickly it turns around. Something for the Wawrinka box to get stuck
into, here. Had those break points in the first set.
CHEERING And that's it! Game on in this third
set. First break to Wawrinka. And Wawrinka broke again to wrap up the
first set -- the third set 6-1. We rejoin the action in the fourth at
3-4 with Wawrinka serving. STUDIO
COMMENTATOR: Two games from the final, you could say. This is a
risky challenge. UMPIRE: Federer has two challenges
remaining. It stays struck, doesn't it, when he
hits it, Stan? Strength in the core. And the legs as well.
APPLAUSE A bit fortunate, there. Both players
on their second serves in this set. It has been better in this set. It
has been pretty consistent throughout.
APPLAUSE Back to 30-0, aided by that
magnificent overhead, yes, but the net cord, the previous point.
Wawrinka could be heading out the exit more ways than one in a moment.
One of the umpires there on the right, he does such a -- such a
great job over the years with this tournament, to build it.
He's not a choker, Stan Wawrinka. He has won too many big matches for
that. That slow, sliced ball staying low
has given him all sorts of troubles today. Not enough players play it.
Federer used it on the backhand side to win the first set with that poke
down the line. First-class hold. Stan Wawrinka is a
man that you have to beat, he's not going to give it away, not at this
stage in his career, with the periods he has got as well. So that
was excellent -- with the experience he has got as
well. So now the pressure reverts, as is the nature of this sport.
That so good. Thrust out forehand from behind the baseline. Clean
winner. Further in trouble. That was deep. Further not expecting that
kind of reply. -- Federer. Superb, isn't it? What a test. 4-4,
fourth set, 0-40. It can all happened so quickly. A little
opportunity in the previous game that may have offered him I thought
of the winning line, now he's under pressure.
APPLAUSE Handy serve.
Easy hit, he would be thinking he should have blocked it. He's got it!
Federer should have done more with a backhand volley really. Wawrinka
kept his eye on the ball and just used his own wonderful hands to
guided crosscourt. -- guide it. Now Wawrinka will serve to take us to a
fifth set. For the second time in this fourth set of the stream Open
semifinal, Wawrinka has a break of serve, the other time was away
earlier in the set, the first game. -- Australian Open semifinal. This
time he's serving for the fifth set. This is an absolute demonstration in
mon Stan Wawrinka has become. A very hard man to beat. And the very
biggest tournaments. In the lower down tournaments he can show up or
not but in these big tournaments, he's the man right now. US Open
champion. And that's it. We are going to a
fifth and deciding set. Wawrinka strong in the last two sets. Winning
6-1, 6-4. He has never beaten Roger Federer on a hard court. If he does
so now, he'll go through to play the winner of Nadal and Dimitrov. It's
all on the fifth. STUDIO: The Stirling matches going
into fifth and final set, Federer took a medical time-out for
treatment on his leg before the decider, lets pick it up at 2-2 with
Federer serving. Brilliant return of serve. Must say
congratulations to Andy for winning the quad doubles again, the fifth
time for him. Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewitt
involved still in the final of the doubles competition.
Yeah, Rod Lever clapping that. I used to do that every ball! Serve
and volley. anything short, anything in that
area around the middle of the court, just beyond the service line and
bouncing up just gets dispatched. Wawrinka, who was two sets down. Can
he bridges in this game? 2-2, fifth set.
85-90 mph return. That's a lot of pays to generate.
Those rallies, those rallies. That's a Wawrinka pattern in this point of
the match, approaching three hours. But what can Federer do to stop it
becoming that? He's getting bludgeoned off the court. Magnus
Norman, former world number two, brilliant coach of Wawrinka.
Surprising. Did not expect to see that.
Normally handles that height so well on the backhand.
Remember him winning Wimbledon against Philippoussis with an
overhead similar to the second one. More a high volley.
Break points saved again. Roger Federer, the legend hanging by a
thread. Pulling on all his resources. For all his years, this
is quite something. 3-2, fifth. There are so many statistics in
tennis, you can bandy them around all like but it comes down to heart
and soul and how to produce Europe best and magnify your strengths and
get out your opponents's weaknesses. Often forgotten it's a one-on-one
contest. You have to be flexible to find your way through these matches.
Federer has always been a thinker, a lot on his plate but he's 3-2 up.
Federer is ranked number 17 in the world at the moment because he took
those six months. Fell out of the top ten in November.
He'd been in the top ten until November last year for a consecutive
734 weeks. Return there, short backswing.
Federer adjusted to the pace of Wawrinka's serve. Little opening
here. Federer, who has had to fight off
break points in two of his service games now has a couple of break
points to get ahead in this fifth. Pressure tells. What a poor service
game there. Well, we talk about the
single-handed backhand of Wawrinka being a thing of beauty, that wasn't
bad. What a serve. Second serve. Two
firsts to go 30-love up and a second there and the return after you
break. That's how to consolidate. There's the reaction. Probably the
first tournament since they'd been married, probables and expecting
much in these two weeks. -- probably wasn't. Amazing.
Remembering Jimmy Connors in 1991 in the US Open as a 39-year-old going
to the semifinal. 35-year-old Roger Federer hasn't played for six
months. Played the Hopman cup but that's an unofficial event. Hasn't
played since losing to Raonic, the Marin Cilic at Wimbledon in the
semifinal. Disappointing! He's come here having not played. A game away
from the final. Absolutely staggering performance. The
accumulation you felt right now he'd be feeling it. Played some great
sense so far, still got to close it out but Wawrinka is not going to go
away easily. You think he's nervous ahead of the next game, serving for
a place in the final? No. Bet he isn't. He's done it too many times.
Not lately. That's true. That's away. 41st Grand Slam
semifinal. That's ten years plus. He's won 27 of those semifinals, so
he's done it all before but this is unexpected.
OK. Well done Wawrinka, his previous service game put him in this
position. A couple of errors. He, himself on this Grand Slam match
winning streak. He won the US Open and now what?
Glorious reception. Federer steps to the line serving for a place in the
final. Fought and won- two punch that was
on the second serve. You kidding? And how was this would work for
moving back out to the left? He was virtually in the tramlines when he
hit that forehand. Absolute perfection so far on these two
service points. CHEERING
The word rape is bandied about too often but this is a great sportsman
and this is a great story. Top-class tournament from Stan
Wawrinka but it's all about Roger. And his 100th match at the
Australian Open will be the final having not played for six months. At
35 and it just might be against Rafa Nadal would be just too delicious
for words and even if it's against Grigor Dimitrov that would be just
fine as well. Fifth set, done a couple of break
points, tell us how you escape that and turned it all around. I don't
know how many break points I saved. Just two. It was tough I felt Stan
had the upper hand on the fifth in the baseline and he was reading my
serve well, something about him maybe being more relaxed, I knew I
had to stay in it somehow but if I played aggressive and connected on a
few returns all of a sudden it could turn round. I feel like he gave a
bit of a cheap break, not like I really deserve the that moment and
after that I did well and got it home and I couldn't be happier right
now. Sounds like you're not the only one who's happy. You're into your
sixth Australian Open final. After the six months off, what does this
mean to you to be back in a Grand Slam final again? And, following
everything happened so quickly at the end. It was disbelief, I had to
check the score. It's all real, I'm doing the interview. It feels
amazing. I never in my wildest dreams thought I was 20 becoming
this far here in Australia. Here I am, got a couple of days. It's all
happening. A record extending 28 Grand Slam
final for Roger Federer on Sunday. We'll find out tomorrow who his
opponent will be, will it be his old rival Rafa Nadal audible Grigor
Dimitrov strike a blow for the younger generation? The second
semifinal is on tomorrow. Either way it's going to be a dream
final on Sunday, Andrew and John are with me. What a comeback this has
been for Roger, you just kept thinking, has he reached its peak
early in the tournament? He seems to get better and better. The big test
for him after Wimbledon last year, we didn't see him at all, six months
away from tournament tennis. Most normal people forget how to play.
He's been hitting a few balls underrating us but to actually be in
a match situation and think clear enough and to get the job done is
fantastic. He wasn't sure whether he could play back-to-back best of five
set matches and here we are, the six matches, including the one against
Nishikori which is demanding and this one as well. It's a fabulous
story, one of the sports stories of the year and were not even out of
January yet and he hasn't won yet but for me to see this man who has
transcended the sport in so many ways still playing with youthful joy
and with exuberance, even if you don't love tennis, just watch this
because when he's not here any more were certainly going to look back
and say it was one of the greatest if not the greatest. Treasure him
when his, physically it was incredible but mentally, two sets
up, felt his back in the locker room and having to go to a fifth set,
mentally he did well. The first two says he was so aggressive, had a
game plan, coming in a lot more than we had seen him and Wawrinka has
that eighth minute time-out for the injury and he lost his way a bit was
that he loses the third and fourth and you think... Then he goes right
back to being aggressive again, a couple of little chance is Wawrinka
had but Federer got at him and he went back to his old plan again and
came back to be aggressive and took chances. It's remarkable. Six months
out, he's in the final of the Australian Open at 35. It's
staggering. You'll be happy to have a couple of days off, warranty? And
will be useful just spent some time with the kids, all of whom are now
ready to go skiing. They inform them mother and dad said give me a couple
of days, keep watching the tennis. Certainly been a wonderful turn of
comebacks and surprises, ended women's semifinals, yet another
wonderful storyline. Venus Williams at the age of 36 is true to her
first Grand Slam final for eight years, she beat fellow American Coco
Vandeweghe. You can see just how much it means to her. In the final
Venus will need a familiar face, sister Serena who beat Marianna
Baroni. The Croatian would be to -- won't be too disappointed. It's an
all Williams Grand Slam final for the ninth time on the first since
2009. That's on Saturday. It is an incredible storyline, John.
Probably expect Serena to be there but for Venus to be back in the
grand slam final. We expected with Venus that she was
capable of winning some good matches but to be in the finals of another
grand at her age. Identikit was possible and once again she's just
proved she still great, great player. Coming through injuries,
illness, so much, shows the love of the Williams sisters have for the
game. In their mid-30s and loving it as much as ever. The average age of
the semifinalists was 32.5, the average age of the finalists is
35.5. The two have been such dominant figures, none more so than
Serena who rises to the challenge every time. Angelique Kerber out
quite early on, everybody talking about Johanna Konta and Sarinah
dismisses her for the loss of five games and I thought Baroni would go
down the same way. Serena is the present. I think she just wonderful
player. Only thing in Venus's favour is that she's putting her sister and
maybe a little more generous at times. They had close matches, she
respected Venus much but when Serena starts, she's heavy favourite. I
give very much, it's been one fairy tale story at another after another
in Melbourne. The Williams sisters in the final and Roger Federer going
for grand slam title number 18. To break someone physically... Agh!
..is not a problem.
Sue Barker introduces highlights of the semi-final match between Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka.
In 2016, Novak Djokovic held off a spirited fightback from Roger Federer to seal his place in his sixth final in Melbourne.
Commentary by Andrew Castle and John Lloyd.