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|Roger Federer serves in a practice session on Wednesday in Melbourne Jerian Grant Magic Jersey , Australia. Photo: CFP Roger Federer's Grand Slam renaissance faces the difficult if familiar obstacle of Stan Wawrinka on Thursday in an all-Swiss blockbuster for a place in the Australian Open final.
The 35-year-old Swiss marvel has been the talk of the year's first major in his unforeseen, roll-back-the-years charge at an 18th Grand Slam crown.
Federer has surprised even himself in reaching the semifinal after missing the -second half of 2016 following knee surgery, with his ranking slipping to 17.
He has tossed aside top-10 players Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori, along with Andy Murray's conqueror Mischa Zverev Jason Williams Magic Jersey , to reach the last four and a date with long-time Swiss teammate Wawrinka, the world No.4.
"If someone would have told me I'd play in the semis against Stan, never would I have called that one for me. For Stan, yes Grant Hill Magic Jersey , but not for me," Federer admitted.
It is an intriguing matchup as the all-time great sizes up his long-term accomplice Wawrinka, with much on the line.
The statistics point to a Federer victory, -after 18 wins to just three in their career meetings and 5-1 in Grand Slam encounters.
But Wawrinka has developed into a great player on his own right under the coaching of Swede Magnus Norman Dwight Howard Magic Jersey , with three major victories in the last three years including a 2014 breakthrough triumph in Australia.
"He's become such a good player, I super-respect that the guy is able to transform his game in his footwork, in his mind, also in his game plan D.J. Augustin Magic Jersey ," Federer said. "He's always been a believer that he can do it."
Wawrinka, for so long in the shadow of Federer's stellar career, remains -respectful but there is a self-belief that makes him a formidable opponent in Thursday's showdown.
"I'm more confident with myself. When I step on the court it doesn't matter who I play. I know what I have to do if I want to win," Wawrinka said.
"Against Roger it's always special ... He's the best player of all time. He has an answer for everything. But I managed to beat him in a Grand Slam."
Wawrinka got one over Federer on clay in the quarterfinals of the 2015 French Open Arron Afflalo Magic Jersey , although he was well beaten in their last Grand Slam meeting in the semifinals of the 2015 US Open.
"Last time I got killed in US Open. He was playing way better than me," he said. "He's playing so well since the beginning of the tournament ... Hopefully I can manage to play a great match."
In the recent dominance of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, Federer's hopes of adding to his record 17 Grand Slams appeared forlorn, given his advancing years.
Federer is looking to become the second oldest man in the Open era after Ken Rosewall (at 37) to win a Grand Slam title.
The Swiss legend won his last Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2012 and made his last major final at the 2015 US Open.
But Murray and Djokovic are no longer in Melbourne after stunning early round exits Vince Carter Jersey , boosting Federer's initially remote -chances. It is a fascinating sub-plot that his close friend Wawrinka may yet have the final say.
INCHEON, South Korea, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Two more athletes, one Cambodian and one Malaysian Tracy Mcgrady Jersey , have failed doping tests at the Asian Games, a source close to the Olympic Coucil of Asia told Xinhua on Wednesday.
The Cambodian is a female soft tennis player and the Malaysian is a male Wushu athlete, according to the source.
So far, three positive cases have been reported at the Incheon Asiad which are taking place from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.
Tajikistani footballer Khurshed Beknazarov was the first
athlete to fail drug tests at the Asian Games. He tested positive for the banned substance methylhexaneamine after a match played September 14 Timofey Mozgov Jersey , five days before the opening of the Games.
OSLO， June 17 (Xinhua) -- The Norwegian government on Friday proposed a substantial increase in military funding to tackle ""deteriorated"" security situation in its long-term plan for the Nordic country's armed forces.
In its white paper to parliament describing the Long Term Plan for the Norwegian Armed Forces for the years 2017-2020， the Norwegian government recommended a gradual increase in the defence budget over the course of the coming four years to a 2020-level 7.2 billion kroner (860 million U.S. dollars) above 2016-levels.
In total， the Norwegian government recommended additional funding over the course of the coming 20 years of 165 billion kroner (19.7 billion U.S. dollars)， according to the plan.
""The international security situation， both globally and in Norway's immediate region， has deteriorated since the previous Long Term Plan was presented in 2012，"" the white paper said.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg called the plan ""a new course， change of pace and a historic commitment to the armed forces，"" according to the Norwegian news agency NTB.
""We are taking a big step towards NATO's goal of having a defence budget close to two percent of GDP，"" Solberg said， adding that the armed forces will cooperate with their allies in case of a military crisis.
The new long-term plan would strengthen Norway's defense capabilities and contribute to safety and freedom， she said.
Norwegian Minister of Defence Ine Eriksen Soreide said the government in this way lays the foundation for a long-term and sustainable development of the armed forces with a real balance between tasks， structure and economy.
""The armed forces are not adapted to the challenges we face and defense capability needs to be strengthened. We have to choose between keeping the defense structure as it is today and increasing our defense capability，"" Soreide said.
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