Australian Open 2020 Day 9: American Sofia Kenin advances, Roger Federer makes miracle comeback

Sofia Kenin will look to spoil Ash Barty's quest to claim the Australian Open for a native Aussie. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

This post will be updated with the latest action from Day 9 of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Kenin’s dream run continues

Sofia Kenin’s career run at the Australian Open continued on Tuesday as she swept her way into the semifinals.

She’ll face her stiffest test yet when she gets there facing No. 1 seed and reigning French Open champion Ash Barty.

The 21 year-old defeated Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 6-4, 6-4 in the first match of the day to keep up her best run in a Grand Slam tournament.

Prior to the Australian Open, Kenin’s deepest run in a major was to the fourth round of the 2019 French Open. She broke that threshold when she beat Coco Gauff on Saturday to advance to the quarterfinals and will now take on Barty, who advanced to the semifinals shortly after Kenin punched her ticket.

Barty tops Kvitova in straight sets

Barty earned her spot in the semifinals with a 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 win over Petra Kvitova. With the win, the Australian makes her deepest career run in her native country’s grand slam.

Barty rallied to win the first set after being broken on her second serve. She broke Kvitova on her next serve, and the set went to a tiebreak, where Barty once again had to rally from a 6-5 deficit.

After 69 minutes, Barty won the set and went on to cruise in the second to secure her place in the final four.

The win avenges a 2019 Australian Open loss in the quarterfinals to Kvitova, who advanced to the final that year where she lost to Naomi Osaka.

“I think Petra — in my eyes — she’s the perfect competitor,” Barty said after defeating the two-time Wimbledon champion. “She comes out here, she fights her absolute best, does everything best as she possibly can. ...

“In my eyes, she’s the perfect competitor, and I absolutely love testing myself against her.”

The semifinal match marks a rematch of the French Open fourth round, where Barty defeated Kenin en route to her first major title.

Federer makes comeback, squeaks past Sandgren

It took a lot of oomph for No. 3 Roger Federer to defeat Tennys Sandgren, the last American man standing at the Australian Open, but he managed to do it. Federer fought hard on his way to a 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-3 victory over Sandgren, and it seemed a real possibility that the 38-year-old legend could fall before he reached the semifinals.

Federer began well enough, winning the first set, but that’s when Sandgren turned it on. He won the second and third sets, and suddenly Federer was dancing on the edge of elimination. In the fourth set, it seemed like it could be over at any second. But Federer is Federer, and he pulled off a miracle comeback. He saved seven match points against Sandgren to grind out a tiebreak win in the fourth set, and nailed down the fifth set to earn a spot in the semifinals.

After the match Federer was honest about his performance, attributing his comeback to luck.

“For the most time there, I thought that was it,” Federer said, via the Associated Press. “Of course, there’s little sparkles where maybe not. Then you’re like, ‘No, it IS over.’ Only maybe when I won that fourth set did I really think that, maybe, this whole thing could turn around.”

Federer will face Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.

Djokovic cruises into semifinals

No. 2 Novak Djokovic was in fine form in the quarterfinals, beating Canadian Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(1) for the 10th time in his career.

Despite the straight sets win, Raonic was a strong competitor throughout the match. Djokovic just couldn’t be stopped. Early in the third set, Raonic was up 2-1 and somehow managed to return a shot he had to sprint to catch up to. It was incredible that he even got his racket on it, let alone returned it in play.

In the end, Djokovic was just stronger and more precise. Raonic took the final set to a tiebreak, but couldn’t extend the match any longer.

Djokovic will face Federer in the semifinals, and he already knows what he’s up against. Djokovic was aware of Federer’s miracle comeback against Sandgren, and spoke of him after the match with nothing but respect.

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