MELBOURNE, Australia – A blockbuster Australian Open semifinal between No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 3 Roger Federer was the latest installment in the tennis rivalry that has come to define recent seasons.

The two met early Thursday morning in a rematch of last year's finals at the U.S. Open and at Wimbledon, both of which Djokovic won.

"We are, you know, big rivals," said Djokovic, the defending champion. "We've played so many times against each other. There's a lot of tension. There's a lot at stake, I'm expecting a great fight."

It was the 15th time Djokovic and Federer met in a Grand Slam, extending their own record for the most matchups at the majors in the Open era, which started in 1968.

It was the 45th matchup overall between the two players who are tied at 22 wins each.

Good showing by Brits

For the first time since the Australian Open in December 1977, two British players advanced to the final four of a major.

Andy Murray and a much lesser-known British player, Johanna Konta, advanced to the semifinals Wednesday. Murray beat David Ferrer 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-3 to reach the semifinals at a Grand Slam for the 18th time. The 24-year-old Konta had a 6-4, 6-1 win over Chinese qualifier Zhang Shuai.

Konta, playing in her first Australian Open main draw, was the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Jo Durie at the 1983 U.S. Open.

"She's done incredible," Murray said after the semifinal win. "Another very comfortable and solid win today. Not easy either."

Associated Press