Roger Federer reaches Australian Open semifinals

Switzerland's Roger Federer celebrates beating Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych in their men's singles quarter-finals match on day 10 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 24, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAEED KHAN / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE --SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images
Roger Federer extended his winning streak to 14 in Australian Open quarterfinals.

MELBOURNE — Roger Federer got cranky at the chair umpire for a technology flaw in his Australian Open quarterfinal, using the rare emotional outburst as motivation.

It helped. The 36-year-old Federer, now the oldest semifinalist in Melbourne in 41 years, beat longtime rival Tomas Berdych, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3, 6-4, Wednesday and will next face a challenge from the next generation.

That will be against 21-year-old Hyeon Chung, the first South Korean to reach a Grand Slam semifinal and the youngest to reach the last four at a major since 2010.


Federer’s victory extended his winning streak to 14 in Australian Open quarterfinals and to nine in a personal rivalry with Berdych that dates to 2004. The 19-time major champion leads that head-to-head, 20-6, including all five meetings at Melbourne Park.

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Federer had to overcome a shaky start, dropping his opening service game and uncharacteristically questioning chair umpire Fergus Murphy because of a technological fault. With Berdych serving for the first set in the ninth game, Federer had challenged a line call.

After a lengthy delay, Murphy called the control room and confirmed the replay graphic couldn’t be displayed on the stadium screen, and also that the original decision stood. When he added that Federer had no challenges remaining for the set, Federer approached the chair and the crowd cheers intensified.

‘‘Yeah, but you can’t steal my challenge,’’ Federer told Murphy. ‘‘Do you feel comfortable with this? You’re OK with it?’’

Seven points later, he eventually broke Berdych to get back on serve, and then won the tiebreaker. The match was as good as over.


‘‘I had to get a bit lucky. A bit angry. A bit frustrated maybe at the umpire,’’ Federer said. ‘‘Anyway, glad to get out of that first set. It was key to the match.’’

Federer later said he just wanted an explanation from the chair.

‘‘I was under pressure. It was definitely very close, the turning point,’’ he said. ‘‘I played a great breaker. But coming back from 5-2 in the first set, it was clearly big.’’

Chung beat 97th-ranked Tennys Sandgren, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, in the afternoon match.

He hadn’t let up in upset wins over No. 4 Alexander Zverev or six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, but he let his guard down in the last game against Sandgren and needed six match points to finish it off.


‘‘In last game . . . if I win one more point, I make history in Korea. I have to think about the ceremony, something,’’ Chung said, explaining how he let his celebrations get ahead of the result. ‘‘After deuce, break point. I was like, ‘No, nothing to do with ceremony. But just keep playing — keep focused.’ ’’

In an on-court interview, Chung introduced the audience to his parents and his coach, and took the microphone to speak in Korean to millions of new tennis fans back home.

‘‘I think all the people is watching Australian Open now,’’ he said.

The 58th-ranked Chung is the lowest-ranked man to reach the Australian Open semifinals since Marat Safin in 2004.

With Chung through, and Kyle Edmund playing No. 6 Marin Cilic in the other half of the draw, it’s the first time since 1999 that multiple unseeded players have reached the Australian Open semifinals.

Federer has been keeping an eye on Chung’s progress.

‘‘To beat Novak on this court is particularly difficult . . . He’s incredibly impressive in his movement,’’ Federer said. ‘‘He’s clearly got nothing to lose. I will tell myself the same and we’ll see what happens.’’

Chung, who won the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals title in November, was too consistent for Sandgren, a 26-year-old American who had never won a match at a Grand Slam tournament or beaten a top-10 player until last week.