MELBOURNE, Australia — There'll be an all-Swiss semifinal in the top half of the Australian Open men's draw after 17-time major winner Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka won their quarterfinals in straight sets.
Returning from a six-month injury layoff, the 35-year-old Federer lifted his game in 6-1, 7-5, 6-2 win on Tuesday over Mischa Zverev, the player who eliminated top-seeded Andy Murray from the tournament two nights earlier.
Federer won the first five games in 12 minutes, setting up a straight-forward win to reach his 41st Grand Slam semifinal and his 13th at Melbourne Park.
Federer was overpowering at the start, taking a 5-0 lead in just 12 minutes before Zverev held. But Zverev settled down in the second set and broke Federer's serve once and was two points away from taking the second set before Federer rallied.
In the third set at 2-2, Federer broke Zverev's serve with the help of two well-time lobs and passing shots when Zverev attempted to serve and volley. That strategy worked against Murray on Sunday, not so much against Federer.
"I'm pleased with the way I started the match ... after that, naturally everything's easier," Federer said. "Second set was definitely a key to shut it down for him. Then in the third set I think I was rolling."
The Swiss star reached his 41st Grand Slam semifinal and his 13th at Melbourne Park.
Federer will play U.S. Open winner Wawrinka in the semifinals. Wawrinka earlier beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets, 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-3 — his fourth straight win against the Frenchman.
But reaching a semifinal against the U.S. Open champion was more than Federer expected in his first major back.
"Not to play Stan in the semis, I'll tell you that," he said when asked what his expectations were. "I thought I was going to maybe make a few rounds."
On Wednesday, the men's semifinalists from the other side of the draw will be determined when 14-time major winner Rafael Nadal plays Milos Raonic and David Goffin takes on Grigor Dimitrov.