Federer holds off Wawrinka to reach Australian Open final

For the first time since 2015, Roger Federer is in a Grand Slam final.

The 35-year-old is one win away from his first slam title since Wimbledon in 2012 after he outlasted fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3 in the Australian Open semis on Thursday night. Having lost the third and fourth sets, Federer saved two break points that would have given Wawrinka a lead in the fifth before surviving in three hours and four minutes.

Wawrinka seemed down and out Down Under when he trailed by two sets and took a medical timeout for a knee issue. But the 2014 Aussie champion roared back to even the match, at which point Federer took a medical timeout of his own for an upper-leg problem. The final momentum swings came when the 17-time major winner fought off break points at both 1-1 and 2-2 in the decider.

Federer promptly seized the decisive break for a 4-2 advantage in the fifth.

Highlights:

“It was an awkward match; always against Stan, it was never going to be easy,” the world No. 17 assured. “Especially how the third and fourth set went by, I needed to react because he had the upper hand from the baseline. I thought it was going to be tough in the fifth. I think he gave me a cheap break in the fifth. After that, I never looked back.

“Midway through the fourth when I realized my game was fading, Stan was having the upper hand on the baseline. Things turn for the worse–you don’t know why. But the good thing is I did have the cushion from the first two sets. I think I did a lot of things right. I prepared the match in a way that allowed me to win it later on.”

“I’m proud of myself, of the fight I give tonight and all the tournament,” Wawrinka commented. “I think there is a lot of positive from this tournament, from Brisbane, from the month already. For sure I’m really sad and disappointed with a loss like that because to be that close to have won a semifinal, it can be only sad.

“But at the end I know I tried everything on the court. I came from two sets down. I changed completely the momentum. At the end I had a great battle against Roger. He’s great fighter. He’s always been amazing in Grand Slams, in (a) five-set match.”

Federer awaits either Rafael Nadal or Grigor Dimitrov in Sunday’s title match.

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