It’s semi-final time at Melbourne Park and the tennis complex is abuzz with excitement. In fact the tennis world is moving closer to the edge of their collective seats as we near the final stage of the year’s first grand slam.
First in action on Thursday are world number one Serena Williams and fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska. The Pole is looking for her first win over Williams in a Tour level match, but there are few stages bigger than an Australian Open semi-final on which she can hope to break new ground.
Radwanska has looked in good form at this year’s Open, with the 26-year-old only stretched in her fourth round tie with Anna-Lena Friedsam, when the German served for the match. The world number four is perhaps better for her fourth-round test; having come so close to being sent home she knows she can battle back.
Williams’ form has been very, well, Williams-like. The world number one has dropped just 14 games in her last four matches and made light work of a determined Maria Sharapova in the quarter-finals, even after a slow start.
The day’s second semi-final in the women’s draw sees Angelique Kerber come up against Johanna Konta. Neither women was favoured to make it this far, Kerber because she had never beaten her quarter-final opponent, Victoria Azarenka, while Konta was barely expected to make it past the first round.
Konta herself said she had simply hoped to be competitive against her first round opponent, eighth seed Venus Williams, but instead she’s been competitive – and some – against Williams, Saisai Zheng, Denisa Allertova, Ekaterina Makarova, and on Wednesday, Zhang Shuai. It’s been quite a ride for the Briton.
And then we turn our attention to the men’s semi-final, and what a semi-final it is.
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will be facing off in a final four clash that very much feels like a final.
The pair will meet for the 45th time in a rivalry so evenly poised that the head-to-head currently stands at 22-22. It’s an enthralling contest that will have any tennis fan licking their lips. They don’t come much better than this.
Djokovic beat Federer in the final of Wimbledon and the US Open last year, and so the Swiss will be looking for revenge on the biggest stage, while the world number one will be out to reinforce that he is indeed the King of the Court.
One could reel off endless stats, make countless comparisons or speak of every previous meeting, but nothing could do this tie justice. All one can do is strap in and enjoy the ride.
Rod Laver Arena
MANNARINO, Adrian (FRA) / POUILLE, Lucas (FRA) vs MURRAY, Jamie (GBR) / SOARES, Bruno (BRA) 
WILLIAMS, Serena (USA)  vs RADWANSKA, Agnieszka (POL) 
KERBER, Angelique (GER)  vs KONTA, Johanna (GBR)
DJOKOVIC, Novak (SRB)  vs FEDERER, Roger (SUI) 
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