Australian Open: A look ahead to Friday and Thursday recap

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Australian Open: A look ahead to Friday and Thursday recap
Switzerland's Roger Federer waves as he leaves Rod Laver Arena after defeating Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in their quarterfinal at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A glance at the Australian Open:

LOOKAHEAD TO FRIDAY

Even at 36, Roger Federer has tennis homework to do.

He admits knowing precious little about the bespectacled young South Korean Hyeon Chung who faces him across the net on Friday night.

The defending champion is respectful of Chung’s shot-making prowess and retrieving powers, which are similar to the 21-year-old’s role model Novak Djokovic.

“I’ll definitely have to look into how I need to play against him because he has some great qualities, especially defensively, like Novak has,” Federer said. “Right now, I couldn’t tell you how I need to play him. One thing I know is I’m going to be playing aggressive. I don’t know how I’m going to do that exactly yet.”

As a student of tennis history, Federer is intrigued to go into a match for another Grand Slam final spot against one of the game’s emerging new generation rather than a long-standing rival such as Rafael Nadal or Djokovic.

“I hardly know Chung. I’ve hardly spoken to him,” the five-time Australian Open champion said. “I thought he played an incredible match against Novak. I mean, to beat him (in the fourth round) here is one of the tough things to do in our sport. I know that Novak maybe wasn’t at 110 percent, but he was alright. To close it out, that was mighty impressive.”

Tomas Berdych, who lost in straight sets to Federer in their quarterfinal, believes the early departure of most of the top seeds has presented the 36-year-old Swiss star with a golden opportunity to go back-to-back at Melbourne Park.

“He has definitely, especially with what’s happening in the draw, a very good chance to win another title,” Berdych said.

Second-seeded Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina will attempt to go one better in the women’s doubles final against fifth seeds Timea Babos of Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France. Makarova and Vesnina lost to Italian pair Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in the 2014 final.

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FRIDAY FORECAST

Humid, partly cloudy, high of 29 Celsius (84 Fahrenheit)

THURSDAY’s WEATHER

Humid, partly cloudy, high of 27 Celsius (81 Fahrenheit)

THURSDAY’S RESULTS

Women’s Semifinals: No. 1 Simona Halep beat No. 21 Angelique Kerber 6-3, 4-6, 9-7; No.2 Caroline Wozniacki beat Elise Mertens 6-3, 7-6 (2).

Men’s Semifinal: No. 6 Marin Cilic beat Kyle Edmund 6-2, 7-6 (4), 6-2.

STAT OF THE DAY

1 — First time in the Australian Open final for Simona Halep, for Caroline Wozniacki, and for Marin Cilic.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Bigger than No. 1, honestly.” Halep on the importance of winning her first major title compared with retaining the top ranking.

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More AP coverage: www.apnews.com/tag/AustralianOpen