Melbourne: Swiss great Roger Federer said “I believe in miracles”, after he saved seven match points in a five-set nail-biter against 100th-ranked Tennys Sandgren to labour into the Australian Open semi-finals on Tuesday.
The six-time champion, struggling physically, saved three match points at 4-5 in the fourth set and four more in the tie-breaker to win 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-3 and set up a clash against either title-holder Novak Djokovic or Milos Raonic.
Federer received a rare warning for an audible obscenity before going off-court for treatment on a groin injury in the third set, but still looked hampered as he forced a fifth set against the big-serving American.
“(I thought) just let him finish me off in style, and he didn't do that. I'm incredibly lucky tonight, today -- I don't even know what time it is.”Sandgren, achingly close to becoming the lowest-ranked player to beat Federer at the Australian Open, can count himself unlucky especially after a ball girl accidentally collided with him during the pivotal tie-breaker, which he lost.
Federer has made heavy weather of reaching his 46th Major semi-final. He was two points from defeat by John Millman in a fifth-set tie-breaker in round three, and dropped a set against 67th-ranked Marton Fucsovics in round four.