Then the 6-foot-5 Czech had a meltdown, and Federer swooped, recovering for a 4-6, 6-7 (7-4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory Sunday -- only his fourth career comeback from two sets down -- to reach the quarterfinals.
"You've got to hang in there, there's no other solution," Federer said. "... Tried to weather the storm. He was hitting the ball so heavy and so hard. He pushed me to the limit."
The atmosphere was more like a soccer match, with large contingents from Melbourne's Greek and Serbian communities loudly cheering between points. The players got a late start and didn't finish until 2:26 a.m. Monday local time.
Djokovic will face Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals.
Roddick improved his career record against Tommy Robredo of Spain to 10-0.
The seventh-seeded Roddick beat Robredo 7-5, 6-1, 6-3, staying on track for a semifinal appearance for the fourth time in seven years.
"I don't know that I've had a bad day against him," Roddick said. "I feel like I always come off the court having played
A massive upset result loomed in the late afternoon when 20th-seeded Berdych was on top for the first two sets, working Federer around with powerful forehands to keep the Swiss star on the defensive. He consistently targeted Federer's backhand with his powerful, kicking serve.
But Federer started finding his range and rallied in the third set and the momentum, already shifting toward him as Berdych's errors mounted, really shifted his way at the start of the fourth set.
Berdych recovered from double breakpoint to deuce, and Federer got another breakpoint on a close line call. Berdych wanted to challenge, but no replay was available due to a technical glitch, so the call stood. Berdych argued with the chair umpire to no avail with the crowd breaking out in jeers, then netted a forehand to fall behind for the only break of the set.
Federer led 4-0 in the fifth but, serving at 5-2, nervously squandered double match point then double-faulted to give Berdych a break chance.
He forced deuce, fired back-to-back aces -- the last was No. 20 for the match -- then leapt in the air with a big "Yes!"
"I enjoy those kind of fights. It doesn't happen all the time. It's always special," Federer said. "I hope it's a good omen. I feel like I could play a couple more sets, so that's a good sign."
Federer has won 13 Grand Slam singles titles, one short of Pete Sampras' record.
The last time Federer rallied from 0-2 to win in five was against Rafael Nadal at Miami in 2005.
Federer, who held the No. 1 ranking for 237 consecutive weeks until losing it to Nadal last August, rarely has needed to come back from two sets.
Federer has done it twice in majors, against Armenia's Sargis Sargsian in the second round at the 2001 French Open and Dutchman Peter Wessels at the 2000 U.S. Open.
Federer beat Berdych in the corresponding round here last year -- after he'd been pushed to 10-8 in the fifth set against Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic. He lost to another Serb, Djokovic, in the semifinals.
Roddick, who says he has trimmed down by about 15 pounds after a gruelling offseason, showed no mercy against
Robredo by firing 13 aces.
He broke Robredo's serve five times and faced just one break
point on his own serve.
"I've just played well against him most of the times we've
played," Roddick said. "It's tough to say it's not a good matchup after 10 wins."
Roddick, 26, has made the semifinals three times at
Melbourne Park in his seven previous visits but has yet to reach
He has been in great form this week, dropping just one set
on his way to the last eight, despite a shaky start against
"So far so good. I get to play another day," Roddick said. "I didn't start off great, and then I thought the second and
third sets were a lot better. Which is, I guess, the direction
you want to go in.
"I've been in the tournament for nine days now and just
trying to get a step further each time.
"I'm not going to think about it in two parts. It's a whole
tournament. I just want to continue to stay alive each day."
Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this story.