Roger Federer, after the exit of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray from the Australian Open 2017, is a strong favourite for the men's singles title. The same can be said about his fellow countryman Stan Wawrinka, who is also eyeing the year's first grand slam final, as he faces four-time champion Federer in the semifinals at the Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.
Federer has been brilliant in the competition so far. After defeating quality players like Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori, he came up with goods against Mischa Zverev-- who pipped Murray in the pre-quarters.
However, Federer can't afford to take Wawrinka lightly. The duo has played together in Davis Cup for Switzerland and know each other's game so well.
"Yeah, I think him (Stan) and Rafa know my best game. I played him so much. Stan and I practiced so much together. With Rafa, I only practiced once in my life, whereas with Stan, I can't even keep count anymore. Yeah, I guess those two guys know me very well," Australian Open official website quoted Federer as saying.
Federer didn't start out as a favourite in the Australian Open. Even Federer seems surprised at his advance to semi-finals.
"I think now that I'm in the semis, feeling as good as I am, playing as good as I am, that's a huge surprise to me. Like I said on court, if someone would have told me I'd play in the semis against Stan, never would I have called that one for me. For Stan, yes, but not for me. I honestly didn't even know a few days ago that he was in my section of the draw or I'm in his section," Federer said.
Wawrinka has looked in great shape as well. With 18 wins and three losses, Federer has the upper hand when it comes to head-to-head record.
However, Wawrinka shifts to overdrive when he faces top players in crunch games. Wawrinka's power game from baseline can niggle Federer- who is equally good at forehand and backhand- making matters more interesting.
Wawrinka has been following Federer's performance in the Australian Open 2017, and the fourth seed knows he has a task at hand. Though Wawrinka has a poor record against Federer, the former will take inspiration from his French Open 2015 win against Federer going into the match.
"It's going to be interesting match. He's playing so well since the beginning of the tournament. He had a little bit some hesitation in the two first rounds, but since that he's really flying on the court. It's great to see him back at that level. Hopefully I can manage to play a great match," Wawrinka said.
"Against Roger, it's always special because he's so good. He's the best player of all time. He has answer for everything. But I managed to beat him in a Grand Slam, so we'll see."
Where to Watch Live
Federer vs Wawrinka Australian Open semifinals contest is set to begin at 7:30 pm local time (2 pm IST, 8:30 am GMT, 3:30 am ET). Below are the TV and live streaming information.
UK: TV: EuroSport. Live Streaming: EuroSport Player.
Australia: TV: Channel 7. Live Streaming: 7 Live.
USA: TV: ESPN 3. Live Streaming: Watch ESPN.