Bask­ing in ti­tle glow

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - LEO SCHLINK

OVER­SHAD­OWED by Gilles Muller’s epic up­set of neme­sis Rafael Nadal, Roger Fed­erer con­tin­ues to feed off Jan­uary’s mir­a­cle Aus­tralian Open win as he chases an eighth Wim­ble­don ti­tle.

In cruise con­trol dur­ing a rou­tine 6- 4 6- 2 6- 4 vic­tory over Grigor Dim­itrov, Fed­erer will tonight play Mi­los Raonic for a place in Fri­day’s semi- fi­nals.

But while the Swiss cham­pion prefers to look to the fu­ture, the glory of Mel­bourne Park is stok­ing grow­ing con­fi­dence.

“It ( Mel­bourne Park vic­tory) was one of the most spe­cial ones,” Fed­erer said. “I def­i­nitely put it in the top five at least, if not top three, of my best feel­ings I ever had af­ter win­ning, what it meant to me, un­der the cir­cum­stances on the come­back.

“In the fi­nals against Rafa, hav­ing had the five- setters through­out the tour­na­ments as well, against Kei ( Nishikori), Stan ( Wawrinka), then also against Rafa.

“I had some tough bat­tles against Rafa over the years, but that came to­tally un­ex­pected I think for both of us to make the fi­nals.

“Ev­ery match af­ter, even with the ( To­mas) Berdych match, from the third round on, was like a su­per bonus. I re­ally just had a won­der­ful time in Mel­bourne. It felt, yeah, I was on this amaz­ing jour­ney. I was happy to bring it all the way home.”

With Nadal re­moved from con­tention 6- 3 6- 4 3- 6 4- 6 15- 13 by Muller, Fed­erer senses a 19th ma­jor in the off­ing.

“I can look at this quar­ter- fi­nal in a to­tally re­laxed fash­ion,” he said. “Phys­i­cally I’m not fight­ing any­thing like last year with my knee.

“Then again, the best play­ers are left in the draw.

“I got to bring the in­ten­sity, the fo­cus that I’ve shown through­out this tour­na­ment, the men­tal­ity on the serve, first and sec­ond serve.

“Very few wrong de­ci­sion- mak­ing. Un­der­stand­ing what to do at what stage. Then on the re­turn, keep go­ing for it, keep stay­ing ag­gres­sive. Pos­i­tive at­ti­tude. I do be­lieve good things can hap­pen.”

Fed­erer has also ef­fec­tively stolen a march on prob­a­ble semi- fi­nal op­po­nent No­vak Djokovic.

The Serb wasn’t able to get on court af­ter Nadal and Muller du­elled for al­most five hours, mean­ing Djokovic was resched­uled to play Adrian Man­nar­ino overnight. If suc­cess­ful, Djokovic will have to back up and play To­mas Berdych tonight.

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