25 Jan 2017

Back to the future as Federer storms into semis

5:57 am on 25 January 2017

Four-times champion Roger Federer continued to roll back the years as he took apart Mischa Zverev 6-1 7-5 6-2 with a clinical display of tennis to reach his 13th Australian Open semi-final.

Roger Federer celebates after beating Tomas Berdych in the Australian Open.

Roger Federer at the Australian Open. Photo: AFP

Chasing an 18th grand slam title, and first since 2012, the 35-year-old Federer neutered his left-handed German opponent's serve-volley game to set up a last-four meeting with fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka.

"I think it definitely went as good as it possibly could have gone," Federer told reporters.

"I had to adapt my style. It was a nice match. I think I played great."

Looking in form as imperious as in his heyday of a decade ago despite missing the back half of last season after knee surgery, Federer is now one match away from a potential final against his old rival Rafael Nadal.

Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, will want to have a say about that as will Nadal's quarter-final opponent, Milos Raonic.

But with both Williams sisters also still standing in the women's draw, it would be easy to imagine it was 2007 not 2017 at Melbourne Park.

Zverev's serve-and-volley game is a throwback to an even earlier era and the world number 50 contributed fully to an entertaining, if brief, contest with his fine volleying and net play.

The unorthodox game helped the left-hander beat world number one Andy Murray on Sunday, one of two stunning upsets along with the early exit of Novak Djokovic which have opened up the draw for Federer and Nadal.

Against Federer, though, it took Zverev 15 minutes to hold serve and get on the scoreboard and by that stage he was already 5-0 down in the opening set.

"I think he did not really let me play," said Zverev. "He just has so many more options, how he can, like, outplay me or pass me. It was different, definitely different."