Comment & Analysis @RazMirza
Roger Federer produces miracle to defeat Tennys Sandgren at Australian Open
Federer saves seven match points before defeating Tennessean Tennys Sandgren, ranked 100th, in five sets to reach the semi-finals in Melbourne
Last Updated: 28/01/20 11:09am
Roger Federer produced a Houdini act after recovering from injury and saving seven match points against Tennys Sandgren to keep his hopes of landing a seventh Australian Open title alive.
Federer, who has never retired in 1,511 previous tennis matches, appeared to be heading towards defeat against Sandgren after picking up a groin injury. But he conjured up a great escape to turn the match around and win 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3.
Federer said: "Got to get lucky sometimes I tell you that. Those seven match points, you're not in control. I was just hoping he was not going to smash the winner, and if he missed one or two, who knows what he is thinking about.
"I got very lucky. As the match went on I started to feel better again and the pressure eased off. I don't deserve this one but I'm standing here and I'm very very happy."
The 20-time Grand Slam champion took an off-court medical time-out early in the third set and was clearly physically compromised with a groin problem but somehow hung on during the fourth.
When he returned both his service speed and movement were down and despite the Swiss struggling on his forehand side he dug deep to save an incredible seven match points in the fourth set and send an already dramatic clash into a decider on Rod Laver Arena.
Sandgren's first three chances came on Federer's serve at 5-4 but the American made errors on all of them.
He then had four more chances in the tie-break, including a 6-3 lead, but Federer saved all of them before taking his second chance to win it 10-8 in sensational scenes on Rod Laver Arena.
And Federer, who had already sealed a dramatic victory against John Millman in the third round, where Federer recovered from 8-4 in the deciding tie-break, ensured those heroic efforts were not in vain, freeing himself up to win the fifth set after three hours and 31 minutes.
👀@rogerfederer has won his last 6⃣ five-set matches here.— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 28, 2020
2020 quarterfinals: def. Sandgren 🇺🇸
2020 third round: def. Millman 🇦🇺
2018 final: def. Cilic 🇭🇷
2017 final: def. Nadal 🇪🇸
2017 semifinal: def. Wawrinka 🇨🇭
2017 fourth round: def. Nishikori 🇯🇵#AO2020 | #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/DKzI7RLXDl
I don't like calling the trainer, sign of weakness and all that. I believe in miracles.
The former world No 1 revealed afterwards he was struggling with a tight groin, and it seemed highly unlikely he would be able to fight through it.
He said: "It's been a lot of tennis throughout my life. I was starting to feel my groin, my leg was tightening up.
"I don't like calling the trainer, sign of weakness and all that. I believe in miracles. It wasn't bad enough where I thought it was going to get worse. Let him finish me off in style and he didn't do that."
Next up for Federer is the winner of the clash between his great rival Novak Djokovic and big-hitting Canadian Milos Raonic later on Tuesday.
The semi-final will take place on Thursday and the 38-year-old Swiss said: "You do feel better in a couple of days and you just never know.
"With these lucky escapes maybe you play freely because you know you should already be skiing in Switzerland. Might as well make the most of it."
Federer's Grand Slam record after reaching semi-final No 46
Australian Open 15
US Open 10
French Open 8