Roger Federer was serene if not consistently supreme in his straight sets victory over Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. The match saw Federer unleash almost every shot in his arsenal to avenge two grand slam losses against Berdych. Federer prevailed in 2 hours and 16 minutes with a score line of 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-4.
Federer has not dropped a set against the powerful Czech in almost two years. Down a break at the beginning of the first and third sets in this contest, the Swiss found an extra gear and broke back immediately both times. It was only in the second set that Federer showed flashes of the unassailable play he displayed in his 4th round dismissal of David Goffin, but throughout the match the world number 3 posted imposing numbers.
Federer scored 9 aces against 3 double faults and hit 48 winners against only 26 unforced errors. He also won over 40% of his receiving points facing one of the most powerful servers at the top of the game. The two stats that are most crucial to the Swiss going forward are his first serve percentage and his break point conversion. In the first category, he landed an imposing 69% of his first serves, and won 83% of the points played on first serves. Ruthlessness was a hallmark of Federer’s approach and of the 10 break points he created, he converted 5. A 50% break point conversion rate coupled with strong serving should more than suffice even if he faces Djokovic in the semifinal.
Federer himself seemed pleased with his performance. In a loose, humorous post-match interview with Jim Courier, Federer joked and, when Courier inquired about where the so-called SABR shot had gone asking, “Is it a toy that you just put away?” Federer laughed and replied, “Do you want me to do it?” When Courier said yes, Federer said simply, “Okay, in the next round I’ll do one.” Courier was as surprised as the fans at the coolness and confidence Federer displayed. The Swiss also confirmed that he would make time to watch the men’s quarterfinal between Djokovic and Nishikori saying, “As a fan that’s just a great match. Everyone should watch. As an opponent, I will watch also.”
Whether Federer plays Djokovic or Nishikori in the semifinals, he is going into that match after another straightforward win against a high quality opponent.