Monday 21 August 2017

Federer back on right road in drive for five

Mark Hodgkinson

A sense of order returned to the Rod Laver Arena, as this time Roger Federer turned a two-set lead into a straight-sets victory, outplaying Belgium's Xavier Malisse for the loss of only seven games.

The third set against Malisse was just as Federer would have wanted it, as he won this 6-3 6-3 6-1 and tomorrow has a fourth-round tie with Spaniard Tommy Robredo.

Federer was wearing shoes with four mini Swiss flags on them, a reminder to everyone of the four Australian Open titles he has won.

If he is to give himself the best chance of winning a fifth, which would take his overall collection of slams to 17, he needs more matches like this, conserving his energy for the business end of the fortnight.

With the victory, Federer broke Stefan Edberg's record for the most Australian Open victories in the open era.

Elsewhere, Andy Roddick came from behind to see off Dutchman Robin Haase 2-6 7-6 6-2 6-2 and Swiss No 2 Stanislas Wawrinka beat French 12th seed Gael Monfils 7-6 6-2 6-3.

Spain's Fernando Verdasco put paid to Japanese hopes with a 6-2 6-4 6-3 victory over rising star Kei Nishikori. Andy Murray, runner-up to Federer last January, is due to play his third-round match with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez during today's session, his first appearance this year on the main court. Local attention will not be on Murray, though, but on the meeting between Rafael Nadal and the Australian teenager Bernard Tomic.

Nadal has conceded just four games so far, and the world No 1 will hope to go through the first week without reaching double figures. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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