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Roger Federer bet his rival Kei Nishikori to reach the Australian Open quarters. Top seeds Angelique Kerber and Andy Murray were both knocked out. The women’s title-holder, Kerber, gently gave away 6-2, 6-3 to Coco Vandeweghe.

Mischa Zverev, the 50th-ranked serve-and volley specialist, stunned Murray in four sets. Murray was the hot star after the exit of Djokovic. But he lost 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 to Zverev, delaying his first Melbourne title.

The unexpected results after six-time champion Noval Djokovic’s shocking loss in the second round, ushered in a horde of challengers, with Federer leading the game.

The 35-year-old Swiss, Federer got closer to the 18th Grand Slam title. He took a thorough advantage of Murray’s departure with a 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 win over Kei Nishikori. Federer, who has returned back fit after his injury lay-off of six months, would now face Zverev in the quarter-final.

"This is a huge moment for me in my career," said Federer. "I was telling myself, 'Stay calm'. I feel fit, I've trained as hard as I possibly can in the off-season. That's what you tell yourself and you hope it pays off," he added.

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