Roger Federer stunned Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and even surprised himself with a vintage display at the Australian Open.
The four-time champion at Melbourne Park wound back the clock to book his 11th consecutive quarter-final appearance with a crushing 6-3 7-5 6-4 victory.
He will face world No.4 Andy Murray after the Scotsman overcame French journeyman Stephane Robert 6-1 6-2 6-7 (8-6) 6-2.
Tsonga came into the match seeking revenge for his five-set quarter-final defeat at the hands of Federer last year.
But it was sixth seed Federer who made a statement.
Federer broke 10th-seeded Tsonga in the second game of the match and was one set up in under 30 minutes.
In an almost flawless performance, the Swiss maestro barely dropped a point on his serve in the first set.
He continued that dominance – Tsonga didn’t get a break point on the 17-time major winner under he was trailing 3-4 in the third – and he didn’t convert.
The 32-year-old was “extremely happy” with his performance and said it was almost better than he had hoped for.
“I’m very pleased – I don’t think I got broken today and that was against a great player.
“I was able to play my game, offensive, mix it up, come to the net.
“Yeah, I was surprised that things worked out for me,” Federer said.
He said it was the match he had wanted to play against Tsonga in the quarter-finals of the French Open last year, which the Frenchman won in straight sets.
That was the last quarter-final that Federer made, missing the final eight at Wimbledon and the US Open.
It also equals US great Jimmy Connors’ record of 41 grand slam quarter-finals.
“It’s nice being back in the quarters, because I haven’t been in one, you know, for two now, Wimbledon and the US Open.”
Under the guidance of new coach, Swedish great Stefan Edberg, Federer was more aggressive at the net and reaped the rewards, winning 34 from 41 points.
Tsonga was unable to find any rhythm in his game.
Last year Federer met Murray in the semi-finals at Melbourne Park and lost in five.
“It’s good to see he took care of his draw, and here we are again.
“I’m looking forward to the match, I must say.
“I wonder how it’s going to play out. Last time was a great match so I hope we both can reproduce something similar.”
Tsonga said Federer had played “unbelievable” tennis.
“I was not surprised because, you know, when you play Roger, you expect him at this level,” Tsonga said.
“You know he’s able to play like this, so you always expect it.”
He said he just couldn’t find a way to stop Federer’s momentum.
“I was not enough good, you know, to give him a good opposition, and that’s it.”
Earlier World No.4 Andy Murray showed a few signs of frustration as he made his way through to the quarter finals beating wily Frenchman Stephane
Murray uncharacteristically smashed his racquet in frustration after he let slip the chance to wrap up the match in three straight sets.
He made no mistake in the fourth against the 119-ranked Robert, winning 6-1 6-2 6-7 (8-6) 6-2.
Despite the stutter the 2013 Wimbledon champion was satisfied with the performance.
“I dominated 95 per cent of the match and for 15 minutes I didn’t close the match out,” Murray said
“I was one point away from it being a great performance.
“He’s a tricky guy to play against and the whole match was tricky and tough mentally.”
Make your contribution to independent news
A donation of any size to InDaily goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. South Australia needs more than one voice to guide it forward, and we’d truly appreciate your contribution. Please click below to donate to InDaily.