MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A quick look at the Australian Open:
LOOKAHEAD TO THURSDAY
Defending champion Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will be playing each other for the 50th time when they meet in the semifinals at Melbourne Park. It’s a blockbuster matchup between two men with a combined 36 Grand Slam trophies (Federer has a record 20, Djokovic 16), 13 Australian Open championships (Federer has six, Djokovic a record seven) 180 singles titles overall (Federer has 103, Djokovic 77) and 10 year-end No. 1 finishes in the ATP rankings (five apiece). Djokovic leads the head-to-head series 26-23, with five in a row in matches at the majors, including their most recent meeting — in last year’s Wimbledon final, where he saved two match points to beat Federer in a fifth-set tiebreaker. So why hasn’t Federer managed to win a Grand Slam match against Djokovic in eight years? Djokovic himself said he wasn’t sure. “I know that whenever we get a chance to play each other, we understand it takes a big effort and it’s required from us to come up with the best game in order to win against each other,” Djokovic said. “Roger is Roger. You know that he’s always going to play on such a high level, regardless of the surface. He loves to play these kind of matches, big rivalries, semis, finals of Grand Slams.” One key this time could be how Federer feels after dealing with a painful groin muscle while saving seven match points during a five-set quarterfinal win. While the other men’s semifinal is not until Friday, both women’s semis are Thursday: No. 1 Ash Barty vs. No. 14 Sofia Kenin, and No. 4 Simona Halep vs. unseeded Garbiñe Muguruza.