'Crazy' good: Federer into fourth round at Australian Open

January 21, 2017
Switzerland's Roger Federer hits a backhand return to Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday. (AP Photol)
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MELBOURNE (AP):

Roger Federer relaxed into the chair, his arms folded across his chest in a casual, confident way, and just savoured a vintage Australian Open performance.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion, seeded a lowly-by-his-standards 17th after spending six months on the sidelines to let his left knee heal, only needed 90 minutes to beat Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in the third round yesterday.

This was against a highly-credentialed pro, seeded number 10, who beat Federer in the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2010 on the way to the final. Berdych reached the quarterfinals or better in Australia the previous six years, and had beaten Federer in six of their previous 22 matches.

 

Almost flawless

 

Federer next faces number five Kei Nishikori. And there's a potential quarterfinal match against top-ranked Andy Murray.

"It's just crazy how quick I got out of the blocks," Federer said of his almost flawless match against Berdych. "What a difference it was in the feeling afterward. I did surprise myself.

Five-time Australian Open runner-up Andy Murray said he had no trouble with his sore right ankle as he advanced to the fourth round for the ninth straight year with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over number 31 Sam Querrey.

Murray, who replaced Djokovic at the top in November, said he was surprised at the six-time Australian Open champion's second-round loss to Denis Istomin. But Murray didn't think it changed anything for him.

"Seven-time major winner Venus Williams routed Duan Yingying 6-1, 6-0 in 59 minutes to reach the fourth round in Australia for the 10th time.

"It's good (but) it's never enough," she said, looking ahead to her fourth-round match against Mona Barthel. "I've tasted it before and it's always a great feeling because it means, hey, I have an opportunity for the quarterfinals. That's what I'm going to go for."

Women's champion Angelique Kerber beat Kristyna Pliskova 6-0, 6-4 and will next play Coco Vandeweghe, who had a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 win over 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard. French Open champion Garbine Muguruza closed out Day 5 with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Anastasia Sevastova.

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