With the quarter-finals producing more or less expected results, the Australian Open moves towards its business end. The likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Milos Raonic, Andy Murray did not just qualify but beat their opponents comprehensively. Federer is pitted against Djoker while Murray plays surprise package Raonic. Both matches are expected to be highly competitive and all four of them have definitely won many hearts with their individual brand of tennis. Breaking down the two match ups :


Head to head: Djokovic 22-22 Federer

The stage is set for an epic encounter and whoever wins this battle will definitely have an edge going into the Australian Open Finals. Djokovic trounced Nishikori while Federer demolished Berdych in the quarters. Djoker, as he is fondly known, has been consistent throughout while Federer remains relentless and calm as ever, willing to add to his 17 Grand Slam wins. Federer’s core strength is his ability to hold his nerves while playing big matches. Djokovic’s only weakness lies in his number of unforced errors. Djokovic will start as favourite against Federer after he beat him at the Wimbledon and US Open finals last year on his way to winning three Grand Slam titles and finishing runner-up at the French Open. Federer will really have to be at his beleaguering best to dethrone Djokovic. With horns locked at 22-22, each one will be relentless to get ahead. After his achievement of losing only one Grand Slam match last season Thursday’s semi-final promises to be a test of Djokovic’s continued dominance of men’s tennis.

In a sign of the pair’s hold on men’s tennis, Federer is into his 39th Grand Slam semi-final while Djokovic is into his 29th. To win this battle Federer may have to show some restraint and control over his aggressive style of play. Winning rallies, break points and first serves might be key to put pressure on the world no.1.

Milos Raonic (14) vs ANDY MURRAY(2)

Head to head: Raonic 4-4 Murray

In the other semi-final Andy Murray will lock horns with Milos Raonic. This is also expected to be a hard fought match considering Raonic has been in tremendous form going into this match. The Canadian continues to show exemplary form in 2016 by ousting Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals of the ongoing Australian Open. This will be his first Australian Open semi-final where he has to play his heart out to defeat the second seeded Scot. He has to have belief in himself to answer the questions that will be posed by his opponent. On the other hand, Andy Murray has kept his bid for a first Australian Open trophy alive with a resounding quarterfinal victory over Spaniard David Ferrer on Wednesday. The four-time finalist was too strong for the Spaniard, who looked jaded as the match progressed. Although, Raonic has been in good form, but it will require a superlative effort from this Canadian to have any hopes of reaching the summit clash. As far as Murray is concerned, he should have his eyes set on the bigger prize.

Souvik Singha