After a perfect closure of the 2003 season, Roger Federer kicked off the next one without a coach, parting ways with Peter Lundgren after four years. Roger wanted to show his abilities in Melbourne and notch the first notable result down under, losing to David Nalbandian in a thriller a year ago.
The Swiss passed three rivals from outside the top-100 to set the clash against the home star Lleyton Hewitt. Having a negative 2-9 score against the Aussie, Federer made sure to improve that and beat Lleyton 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-4 in two hours and 18 minutes for the first quarter-final in Melbourne.
Federer faced another player against whom he had a poor record, David Nalbandian. Roger was eager to avoid another after two Major defeats against the Argentine in 2003 at the Australian Open and the US Open. He claimed a 7-5, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 victory in two hours and 41 minutes for the second semi-final at Majors after the last year's Wimbledon.
Federer won six points more than David, firing 20 aces and defending eight out of 11 break chances, challenging David to repeat those numbers. The Argentine gave his best to stay in touch, suffering five breaks from Roger's 12 opportunities and losing focus in the pivotal moments to push the rival through.
Federer erased a break chance at 5-5 in the first set with a booming serve, gathered a boost and broke Nalbandian a few minutes later for 7-5.
Roger Federer parted ways with Peter Lundgren ahead of the 2004 Australian Open.
David led 2-0 and 4-3 in set number two before dropping three straight games and allowing Federer to steal it and open a massive lead.
Losing ground in the opening two sets' closing stages, Nalbandian fixed that in the third, taking Roger's serve at 5-5 and seizing it with a smash winner for 7-5, hoping for more of the same in the rest of the encounter. Instead, Roger raced into a 3-0 advantage in set number four and sealed the deal with a service winner in game nine for the first semi-final in Melbourne, setting the clash against Juan Carlos Ferrero.
"It should be a similar experience against Juan Carlos Ferrero, with a lot of running and smart shots to take the point. I have been hitting with juniors in the last few days; I do not have a coach, and I like to play juniors.
It should be tough against Juan Carlos Ferrero; I have to play against three top-tier rivals, just like at the Masters Cup," Roger Federer said.