MELBOURNE, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Latest news from the ninth day of the Australian Open on Tuesday (all times GMT):
Melbourne Park saw a crowd of 44,292, a record for the tournament's second Tuesday, comfortably beating the previous record set in 2010 of 39,857.
"I've played Roger 44 times. It's always a challenge. He's a great champion. I have a lot of respect for him."
Defending champion Novak Djokovic was back to his best against seventh seed Kei Nishikori after surviving a scare against France's Gilles Simon in the previous round. The Serb saw off Nishikori 6-3 6-2 6-4 to set up a semi-final date with third seed Roger Federer.
Djokovic eases past Nishikori to set up Federer showdown
Coach Liu never lost faith in Zhang's fighting spirit
Hingis-Mirza in doubles semis, Murray continues British charge
Federer ramps game up to move into semis
Long-serving Serena just wants to have fun
Back to drawing board for frustrated Sharapova
Serena maintains hold over Sharapova to advance
Radwanska beats Suarez Navarro to make semis
Raonic shocks Wawrinka, Zhang rolls on
Qualifier Zhang beats Keys to extend run
Murray downs Tomic to reach Melbourne quarters
World number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia cruised through the second set of the quarter finals against Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori, beating the 26-year-old 6-2. Djokovic leads the match 6-3 6-2.
Defending champion and world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia made easy work of the first set against Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori, taking the opener of their quarter-final by a 6-3 margin.
"I mean, a lot, yeah. It's part of the reason why I guess I'm still playing. I feel like I'm competitive at the top. I can beat all the guys on tour. I really enjoy being able to come to the net more like back in the day. So I'm very pleased."
"He was just too good today. That's the way that he needs to play this time. He's still on a pretty high level, playing great tennis. He's just proving how great a player he is, how difficult at this time it is to play him."
Third seed Roger Federer of Switzerland beat Czech Tomas Berdych 7-6(4) 6-2 6-4 to reach his 39th grand slam semi-final. He will face either world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia or Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori.
"It will be a good match. She's been playing really well towards the end of the year, and already this year she's been very consistent. So I think it will be a long match and it will be a good match to see where I am."
"She's at a different level. She makes you go back to the drawing board, not just for me, but for many other players. She makes you work. That's inspiring."
Australian tennis great Rod Laver is warmly applauded in a ceremony on the court named after him to commemorate his being appointed as Companion to the Order of Australia on Tuesday.
"It was a super intense. She is an incredibly intensely focused player who was number one and won grand slams for a reason. I had to come out with fire and intensity. I have played this whole week aggressive and I didn't start out that way, so I just decided to play the way that got me to the quarter-finals."
Top seed Serena Williams shakes off two visits from the trainer and doctor to race through the second set of her quarter-final with Maria Sharapova, extending her run to 18 successive victories against the Russian, and advancing to the semi-finals with a 6-4 6-1 victory after 92 minutes.
Williams overcomes an early service break to take the first set against Sharapova 6-4 in their quarter-final on Rod Laver Arena after 55 minutes.
"I knew it would be a tough one. She is very solid, like most Spanish players and I knew everything would come back to my side. I tried to be aggressive and focus on my serve and I think I did a good job."
Fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska advanced to her second semi-final at Melbourne Park with a 6-1 6-3 victory over 10th seed Carla Suarez Navarro. The Pole will meet Serena Williams.
Play got underway on all courts as scheduled on a warm Australia Day morning at Melbourne Park.
4-Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) v 10-Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain)
Not before 0145 GMT
1-Serena Williams (U.S.) v 5-Maria Sharapova (Russia)
Not before 0330 GMT
3-Roger Federer (Switzerland) v 6-Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic)
Not before 0815 GMT
1-Novak Djokovic (Serbia) v 7-Kei Nishikori (Japan) (Compiled by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by John O'Brien)