Australian Open 2014: Roger Federer has let himself begin 'dreaming' of an 18th Grand Slam title

After beating Andy Murray the former world number one will meet Rafael Nadal in the semi-final

Roger Federer is dreaming of grand slam titles again but first he must get past his old rival Rafael Nadal.

The 17-time grand slam champion came into the Australian Open as an outsider after his 2013 struggles but has looked back to something like his best form in wins over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Murray.

Having lost to Murray in the semi-finals 12 months ago, Federer took revenge to reach the last four in Melbourne for an 11th consecutive time.

The 32-year-old has not made a grand slam final since winning the last of his titles with victory over Murray at Wimbledon in 2012.

He has beaten Nadal only 10 times in 32 meetings, and not at a slam since the Wimbledon final of 2007, but the Spaniard is struggling with a blister on the palm of his left hand and battled past Grigor Dimitrov in his quarter-final.

For Federer, meanwhile, there is also the tantalising possibility of an all-Swiss final, with Stanislas Wawrinka due to play Tomas Berdych on Thursday after his stunning upset of Novak Djokovic.

"For me it's an amazing result to be in the semis," said Federer. "This one feels different because of the tougher times I've had in the slams.

"Plus what I really love is another Swiss is in the semis as well. It's the first time in history. So that's a big deal.

"I didn't think about it all the time when I was playing, but it was definitely inspiring tennis by him. For me, it's as well a dream run, and I hope I can keep it up against Rafa.

"Clearly when you're in the semis, you start dreaming. There's no doubt about that."

 

Federer will hope the changes he has made can bring about a change of fortune against Nadal.

The Swiss is playing with a larger-headed racquet and has Stefan Edberg in his corner to advise him and regular coach Severin Luthi.

Edberg has already won the battle of the super coaches, with Murray's mentor Ivan Lendl and Djokovic's new head coach Boris Becker both heading home.

Federer will face Nadal at a slam for the first time since the semi-finals here two years ago, and he said: "He's been tough to play against, no doubt. I'm happy I get a chance to play him in a slam again.

"The head-to-head record is in his favour. I'm looking forward to speaking to Stefan, because when we spoke together when he came to Dubai and we spoke about the game, we clearly spoke about playing Rafa, as well. He thought he had some good ideas."

Nadal had to fight back from a set down against first-time slam quarter-finalist Dimitrov and admitted he was "so lucky" not to drop the third as well.

Dimitrov had three set points and on the second he pushed a routine forehand wide, with Nadal eventually coming through 3-6 7-6 (7/3) 7-6 (9/7) 6-2.

The world number one was a long way from his best form throughout and conceded the strapping on his blister is badly affecting his serve.

"I feel that with the tape I can lose the racquet when I'm serving," said Nadal. "That's a terrible feeling for a serve.

"I served slower, I served bad. But I was able to win a match against a very difficult opponent, so that has much more value than when everything is great.

"And because of these victories, sometimes it happens that the next day you are able to play much better.

"I'm going to try to improve. If not, I'm not going to have the chance to be in the final."

This has been a breakthrough grand slam for 22-year-old Dimitrov, but the Bulgarian knew he had let a great chance slip through his fingers, and he fought back tears as he discussed the missed forehand.

He said: "I'm a bit shattered. It's tough losing that match. I came out expecting nothing less than to win.

"Of course I shed a few tears, but it should hurt. And it does hurt.

"Once you take a decision, never look back. It's the same thing in life: you make mistakes. It's in the past.

"I'm sure I could have done something different. But in a match everything comes down to a split second. It's whether it's in or out."

Wawrinka and Berdych have both made it through to the semi-finals in Melbourne for the first time.

Federer is a close friend and supporter of Wawrinka, and he said of Tuesday night's match: "At the end I was standing up, hands in the air like him.

"When he wins big points, you do fist pump. I high five with Mirka. We watched the entire fifth set together. It was amazing."

PA

Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin visits her 1990s work ‘My Bed’ at Tate Britain in London, where it is back on display from today
artsBut how does the iconic work stand up, 16 years on?
Life and Style
life + style
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor