After a perfect closure of the 2003 season, Roger Federer kicked off the following one without a coach in his box after parting ways with Peter Lundgren. Heading to Melbourne for the season’s first Major, Roger wanted to show his abilities and notch the first notable result down under, losing to David Nalbandian in a thriller 12 months ago. The Swiss passed three rivals from outside the top-100 to set the clash against the home star Lleyton Hewitt in the fourth round. Having a negative 2-9 score against the Aussie, Federer made sure to improve that and remain on the title course, beating Lleyton 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-4 in two hours and 18 minutes for his first Australian Open quarter-final. Things did not get any easier, as Federer faced another player against whom he had a poor record, David Nalbandian. Suffering two Major defeats against the Argentine in 2003 in Melbourne and New York, Roger was keen to avoid another. He claimed a 7-5, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 victory in two hours and 41 minutes for the second semi-final at Majors after Wimbledon 2003.
Roger Federer defeated David Nalbandian to reach the semis in Melbourne in 2004.
Federer won six points more than David, firing 20 aces and defending eight out of 11 break chances to keep the pressure on the other side. The Argentine gave his best to stay in touch, suffering five breaks from Roger’s 12 opportunities and losing focus in the pivotal moments to push the rival through. Federer erased a break chance at 5-5 in the first set with a booming serve, gathered a boost and broke Nalbandian a few minutes later for 7-5. David led 4-3 in set number two before dropping three straight games and allowing Federer to steal it and open a massive lead. Losing ground in the closing stages of the opening two sets, Nalbandian fixed that in the third, taking Roger’s serve at 5-5 and closing it with a smash winner for 7-5, hoping for more of the same in the rest of the encounter. Instead, Roger raced into a 3-0 advantage in set number four and sealed the deal with a service winner in game nine for his first semi-final in Melbourne, where he would face Juan Carlos Ferrero.
“It should be a similar experience against Juan Carlos Ferrero in the next round, with a lot of running and smart shots to take the point. I have been hitting with juniors in the last couple of days; I do not have a coach, and I like playing against the youngsters. It should be tough against Juan Carlos Ferrero; I have to play against three top-tier rivals, like at the Masters Cup,” Roger Federer said.