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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Tennis: Federer strolls past Hewitt to set up date with jeering Davydenko

Roger Federer will play his nemesis Nikolay Davydenko after beating Lleyton Hewitt Photo: Getty Images
Roger Federer will play his nemesis Nikolay Davydenko after beating Lleyton Hewitt Photo: Getty Images

Matt Somerford

ROGER FEDERER will play his recent nemesis Nikolay Davydenko in the quarter-finals at the Australian Open after the Swiss brushed aside local hope Lleyton Hewitt in Melbourne.

The world No 1 produced a masterclass to stun Hewitt, and an expectant capacity crowd at Rod Laver Arena, 6-2 6-3 6-4.

Earlier, Davydenko withstood a Fernando Verdasco fightback to progress 6-2 7-5 4-6 6-7 (5/7) 6-3 and set up what could be a spicy encounter with the Swiss.

The 28-year-old Russian has beaten Federer in their past two meetings and last week said the top players were "scared" of him following a recent run of form that has seen him lift the ATP World Tour Final and Doha titles.

Federer, who has rarely been goaded in such a manner during his career, responded: "I'm in for a good match, for sure, but I obviously favour my chances in a best-of-five-set match. We'll see how it goes."

Federer -- bidding to qualify for a record 23rd consecutive Grand Slam semi-final -- was frighteningly efficient in beating Hewitt.

There are days when you wonder how you could ever suggest anyone other than the Swiss might win a Grand-Slam tournament. This was one of those.

Potency

Hewitt did not have a chance. The shots rained down on the silver-shoed Australian like a meteor shower as Federer, a three-times champion here, sprayed winners, especially on the forehand, which, incredibly, has taken on an even greater potency and range.

Novak Djokovic, the 2008 winner, eased to another routine 6-1 6-2 7-5 win over the world No 86 Lukasz Kubot.

The possibility of an all-Williams women's semi-final looms after both sisters won their fourth-round matches yesterday.

Defending champion Serena Williams ended local hopeful Sam Stosur's campaign 6-4 6-2, while sixth seed Venus Williams recovered from a sluggish start to overcome Francesca Schiavone 3-6 6-2 6-1.

The American sisters are now just one win away from meeting each other in the last four and the chances of that happening were increased when fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki was beaten by China's Li Na 6-4 6-3.

That left the Williams as the highest seeded players left in the draw. Should they meet it would be their first clash at Melbourne Park since Serena won the 2003 final.

Irish Independent

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