Melbourne:Roger Federer has lots of reasons to like James Blake.
The 12th-ranked American has a reputation as a nice guy away from the court and a good sportsman on it.
More importantly for Federer, Blake always puts up a good fight against the Swiss star, then loses.
Top-ranked Federer ran his record against Blake to 8-0 and advanced to the Australian Open semifinals with a 7-5, 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory on Wednesday.
Federer is seeking to win here for the third straight year and pull within one of Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam titles. He's also one step away from his 11th consecutive Grand Slam final and has won 19 matches in a row at Melbourne Park.
"It's great to be on top of game for so long and be compared to greats like Rod Laver and Sampras," Federer said.
He's not too worried about younger players stealing a little of the spotlight, either. "I'm looking at history, looking at my own game," Federer said.
He next faces No 3 Novak Djokovic, who beat No 5 David Ferrer 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 to join two Serbian women in the semifinals. Ana Ivanovic ousted Venus Williams 7-6 (3), 6-4 on Wednesday, while Jelena Jankovic beat Serena Williams on Tuesday.
The same three players reached the French Open semifinals last year on clay, proving they can win anywhere.
Djokovic also made the Wimbledon semifinals and was runnerup to Federer at the US Open.
"Playing against James, it's always great fun," said Federer, dressed in all-black again for a night match.
"He's dangerous when he's even behind in the game. He made some incredible shots."