Federer, Murray on collision course

ESPNAPI_IMG_NO_ALTEXT_Value

MELBOURNE, Australia -- If this were 2012, Roger Federer and Andy Murray would have been on course to meet in the Australian Open final. And, if not for top-seeded Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Rafael Nadal that year, they would have.

Instead, Federer and Murray landed in separate semifinals, as they so often did, and the Big Four continued its streak that has accounted for the tournament champion in 34 of the past 35 majors and for the finalists in 25 of the past 26.

With Federer now ranked sixth in the world and Murray still fourth, the two are headed for a quarterfinal clash in Melbourne that arguably would mean more to them than any quarterfinal in a while.

Federer, who flattened Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 Friday, and Murray, who rolled past Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-2, will first have to get past their fourth-round matches.

For Murray, it should hardly be a problem as the 2013 Wimbledon champ will meet France's Stephane Robert, who at 33 is the first man to make the fourth round after losing in qualifying and getting in as a "lucky loser" (after another player withdrew).

For Federer, the challenge is decidedly tougher as he will be going up against 2008 Australian Open finalist and No. 10 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2 winner over No. 18 Gilles Simon.

Both Federer and Murray came into the 2014 season after having back issues last year. Federer said two months of rest and treatment helped his back problems this past spring, and Murray had surgery after the US Open. Both speak carefully about expectations.

"It's great winning any match, really," said Federer, who tied Guillermo Vilas for third place in career tour victories with Saturday's win and would become the second man after Roy Emerson to win five Australian Open titles should he capture the title. "I hope I can keep going and win more matches on tour. Clearly it's nice being compared with some of the greatest players of all time sometimes."

Murray has had three three-set wins.

"Today was a big step up for me," he said. "Feliciano is a top-30 player. He's a tricky opponent to play. I know I have a good record against him, but it doesn't change the fact he's not an easy guy to play against. … So it was a good test for me, and I did well."

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 21583246. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 21583246.
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: A visitor holds an Xbox One controller during the EGX gaming conference at Earls Court in London, Sept. 25, 2014.
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images
PHOTO:
Bay Ismoyo, ChaideerMahyuddin/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: An undated booking photo shows Castor Conley.
Multnomah County Sheriffs Office
PHOTO: James Franco, left, and Seth Rogen in a scene from the The Interview.
Ed Araquel/Columbia Pictures/Sony/AP Photo
Minecraft Creator Buys Ridiculous $70 Million Mansion
MLS | Inset: Yui Mok/Press Association/AP Photo