Roger Federer beats Milos Raonic
MELBOURNE, Australia -- The toughest part of the men's draw at the Australian Open played up to expectations. Now, a consequence of that smooth sailing is the likelihood of some semifinals being worthy of any Grand Slam title matches.
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Second-seeded Roger Federer and Andy Murray stayed on course Monday for a semifinal in their half of the draw, with No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic possibly waiting for the victor in next Sunday's final.
With Djokovic advancing to the quarterfinals on Sunday, the other two easily won their fourth-round matches on Monday. Federer concluded the night session in Rod Laver Arena with a 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over Canadian Milos Raonic, while Murray took advantage of Gilles Simon's ill health and fatigue for a 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 win.
Federer has won four of his 17 major titles at Melbourne Park, where he has reached the semifinals or better every year since first winning the Australian Open in 2004.
The last time Federer failed to reach the last eight at a major was at the 2004 French Open, where he lost in the third round to Gustavo Kuerten. He next plays No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a finalist here in 2008.
"You try to win every match you can as quick as you can, saving energy in the process," said Federer, who has the benefit of experience. "At least you have a day in between, that's big."
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The 22-year-old Raonic, seeded 13th, missed another chance to become the first Canadian man in a Grand Slam quarterfinal in the Open era.
Five months after he ended a 76-year drought for British men in Grand Slam tournaments with a win at the U.S. Open, Andy Murray is also into the quarterfinals and on track to make it two in a row.
Simon, coming off a tough five-set win over fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils, clearly wasn't in any shape to challenge Murray.
"After the first few games, I mean, it didn't feel like that competitive," Murray said. "Sort of at this stage of a Grand Slam you're sort of gee'd up and prepared for a tough battle. That's why it becomes hard because the emotions aren't quite into it."
Play on Day 7 ran into Day 8 overnight, when Novak Djokovic needed just more than 5 hours to beat Stanislas Wawrinka 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 12-10 in a fourth-round match Sunday night, on the same court where he needed 5:53 to beat Rafael Nadal in last year's final.
"I just had flashback of 2012," said Djokovic, who ripped off his shirt to celebrate again, like he did last year. "It was maybe 45 minutes less this match than the one 12 months ago, but still it was still as exciting. I tried to enjoy the moment and couldn't ask for more. What a match point ... unbelievable."
The win was Djokovic's 18th in a row at Melbourne Park after winning the past two Australian titles, and earned him a place in the quarterfinals of a 15th consecutive major.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Australian Open 2013 -- Jan. 13-Jan. 27
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