Trying to become the first American in the semi-final of the Australian Open, Tennys Sandgren leads 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 against the six-time champion Roger Federer. The Swiss has been struggling with a back injury, receiving a medical timeout and not being able to play at his 100% or to move as he usually does.
Roger sprayed 15 unforced errors and got broken twice, just like in the second set, drifting further and further away from the 15th semi-final in Melbourne, never losing in the quarters here before. Sandgren held at 15 at the beginning of the third set after forcing an error from Roger at the net, still hitting in full throttle and keeping the Swiss away from the comfort zone.
Serving in game two, Federer sent a forehand long to offer a break chance to the American and sprayed another error from the stronger wing to fall 2-0 down, really struggling in the last 20 minutes or so. Facing three break points in the third game, Tennys produced some bold hitting to repel them all, taking five straight points and cementing the advantage with two service winners that sent him 3-0 up.
Roger received an audible obscenity warning in that game and took a medical timeout away from the court, probably with a back injury. The Swiss stopped his downfall with an excellent hold in game four before Sandgren produced his magic behind the initial shot again to take the fifth game at love with a forehand winner, extending the gap to a 4-1.
Struggling to find the speed on the first serve, Federer held at love in game six but there was nothing he could do on the return in the next game, allowing Sandgren to keep the break with his 14th ace of the match and serving to stay in the set in the next game.
Controlling the pace with strong and deep groundstrokes, Tennys created a set point with a volley winner, denied by a sharp forehand winner from Federer who missed a volley in the next point to offer the second set point to his opponent.
The Swiss saved it with a service winner before netting an easy forehand, struggling to move as he would have wanted but fending off the third set point with a forehand drive-volley winner. A double fault from a former champion offered the fourth set point to Sandgren who couldn't return the rival's serve, earning the fifth chance that Roger saved with another good serve.
In the end, the American converted the sixth opportunity following a loose backhand from injured Federer to take two sets to one lead.