Australian Open: Andy Murray v Roger Federer quarter-final preview

By Razwan Mirza - Tweet me: @RazMirza.   Last Updated: 22/01/14 8:00am

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Roger Federer and Andy Murray: Ready to commence battle

Roger Federer and Andy Murray: Ready to commence battle

Sky Bet

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and 17-time major winner Roger Federer go head-to-head on Wednesday for a place in the Australian Open semi-finals.

The British No 1 underwent back surgery that forced him to sit out the last three months of the season, but is now back, feeling fit and healthy.

Meanwhile, 32-year-old Federer is reaching the kind of level that saw him claim his last major title at SW19 in 2012 as he bids for a record fifth title Down Under.

It will be the first time they've played since last year's semi-final at Melbourne Park, a clash the Scot won in five sets for his first grand slam victory over the Swiss maestro, who has beaten him in three major finals.

Unknown factor

The three-time Australian Open finalist has beaten three players ranked outside the top 100 as well as familiar foe Feliciano Lopez to reach this stage.

"I need to play a great match to win. You play 10 percent below your best, you can be off the court quickly."
Andy Murray

His first blip came on Monday when he dropped the third set to Frenchman Stephane Robert having held four match points, but he quickly recovered.

There is still a certain unknown factor about Murray's level and this will be only his seventh competitive match since back surgery in September.

But he does have an 11-9 edge over his Swiss opponent in 20 meetings and he has won three of their last four meetings.

"I need to play a great match to win," said Murray. "You play 10 percent below your best, you can be off the court quickly."

Asked if there was still something special about playing Federer, he said: "I think there's always going to be because of everything that he's achieved in the game.

"Whenever Roger finishes, or Rafa (Nadal), I am not going to play against guys that have won 17, 14, 15 slams, however many Rafa has won, however many he'll go on to win.

"So it's always going to be special playing against him."

Old magic

The old magic does appear to be back in Federer's new bigger-headed racquet following a crushing fourth-round victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

"I'm looking forward to the match, I must say. We had an interesting year last year with some ups and downs. It's a good start to the season for both of us."
Roger Federer

This comes after a year in which he slipped out of the Top 5 and failed to reach a Grand Slam final for the first time since 2002.

"This is a big test for me," said sixth-seeded Federer, adding that he now feels fit enough to tackle big challenges. "I've overcome a lot in the last few months."

"I'm looking forward to the match, I must say. We had an interesting year last year with some ups and downs. It's a good start to the season for both of us."

The clash will also be the first meeting between two of the super coaches, with Murray's mentor Ivan Lendl coming up against his former 1980s rival Stefan Edberg.

It has all the ingredients for another Melbourne classic under the lights on Rod Laver Arena with the victor facing either world No 1 Rafael Nadal or young Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the last four.

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