Roger Federer has delivered a showcourt masterclass to surge into his 40th grand slam semi-final at Melbourne Park.
Rod Laver was fittingly front and centre in the arena named in his honour as Federer crushed sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 6-4 for his record 80th Australian Open win.
The peerless Swiss rode roughshod over Berdych, needing barely two hours to set up a last-four showdown on Thursday with either world No.1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic or Japanese No.7 seed Kei Nishikori.
Third-seeded Federer will be playing for a place in the title match in Melbourne for the first time since claiming a fourth trophy in 2010.
He should be bristling with confidence after breaking Berdych on five occasions and crunching 46 winners to romp into the Open semi-finals for the 12th time in 13 years.
“I’m very, very happy. Tomas has caused me a lot of problems over the years,” Federer said.
“He’s one of the guys who makes you a better player. He’s beaten me around the world on the biggest courts.
“I played a great match. I was aggressive, had some variety in there and I’m very happy I was able to play like that.”
There was no indication early on it would all be so easy.
Berdych made a dream start to the match, breaking Federer in the opening game.
But it didn’t take the 17-times grand slam champion long to warm to the task, striking straight back before rolling through the tiebreaker and gaining an early break in the second set to assume complete control.
Toying with Berdych by now, Federer lured the big Czech to the net and hooked a ridiculous forehand pass around him to bring up another break point, then stormed forward himself to convert for a 5-2 buffer.
He made no mistake closing out the set before dropping serve to ever so briefly offer Berdych a glimmer of hope.
A semi-finalist the past two years, Berdych was unable to capitalise as Federer again hit right back before finishing the world No.6 in three straight sets.