Swiss great Roger Federer put big-talking Australian Bernard Tomic firmly in his place yesterday, as he joined Andy Murray and Serena Williams in the second week of the Australian Open.
The revered 17-time Grand Slam-winner swept to a straight-sets win, after coming through a tight second-set tie-break, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1. Federer will now face Canada’s Milos Raonic in the fourth round as he continues his bid for a fifth Australian Open crown.
“Overall we both played a great match,” said Federer. “Bernard has had a great run and he really got the best out of me tonight.”
In the most competitive day so far, Murray extended his Grand Slam winning streak to 10 matches, but not before a thorough workout from hitting partner Ricardas Berankis, and he let his frustrations show in the 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 win.
“I was struggling,” said Murray. “He (Berankis) was making me feel frustrated.”
Elsewhere, Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro became the tournament’s biggest casualty when he slumped to a five-set defeat to unseeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 3-6, 6-3.
Azarenka struggles into fourth round
Meanwhile, defending champion Victoria Azarenka was made to work hard and play ‘ugly’ to stay in the tournament. The Belarusian came through the match against American Jamie Hampton in three sets, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, to set up a clash with unseeded Russian Elena Vesnina.
“I don’t think it was the best performance,” said Azarenka. “These kinds of matches sometimes bring better things for you in the future, because winning ugly always means that you overcame something.”
In other matches, five-time champion Williams powered past Japan’s Ayumi Morita 6-1, 6-3.
“I was really focused out there,” said Williams, who now faces 14th-seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko, “Ayumi played well and gave me a good test.”
Aisam-Sofia crash out of mixed-doubles
Meanwhile, in the mixed-doubles event, there was disappointment for Pakistan ace Aisamul Haq Qureshi and partner Sofia Arvidsson as they lost their first round match against second-seeded duo Leander Paes and Elena Vesnina 6-7, 6-4.
Aisam will now hope for a change in fortunes in the men’s doubles event when he and Dutch partner Jean-Julien Rojer take on Thomaz Bellucci and Benoit Paire in the third round today.
The duo beat Belgians Xavier Malisse and Dick Norman 7-6 (5), 6-4 yesterday in the second round.
“I was definitely struggling. He (Berankis) was making me feel pretty frustrated. We know each other well and we have practised together. He was making me feel pretty uncomfortable out there.”
“I don’t think it was the best performance. These kinds of matches sometimes bring better things for you in the future, because winning ugly always means that you overcame something. So I take it as a positive at the end of the day.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2013.