Australian Open 2017

Tennis: Fed makes swift progress

Roger Federer hitting a return to Tomas Berdych in his straight-sets vanquishing of the Czech 10th seed. The Swiss made light work of his third- round opponent, taking just 90 minutes to seal his passage into the fourth round where he will face Japan
Roger Federer hitting a return to Tomas Berdych in his straight-sets vanquishing of the Czech 10th seed. The Swiss made light work of his third- round opponent, taking just 90 minutes to seal his passage into the fourth round where he will face Japan's Kei Nishikori.PHOTO: REUTERS

Swiss will face 5th seed Nishikori next as both men and women No. 1s win in straight sets

MELBOURNE • Following Novak Djokovic's shock second-round exit from the Australian Open on Thursday, there were no major upsets in the round of 32 yesterday, just like the much calmer weather.

On a cool day in Melbourne, the men's world No. 1 and women's top seed both hit a hot patch of form as the final rounds beckoned.

Andy Murray saw off Sam Querrey as he ramped up his bid for a first Australian Open title following the departure of six-time champion Djokovic two days ago.

Murray put Querrey away 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in just under two hours, winning 77 per cent of points on his first serve and facing only three break points in a clinical display.

The 29-year-old also showed no signs of discomfort in his right ankle, after he rolled it painfully during his second-round win over Andrey Rublev.

"I felt better and better as the match went on, in terms of my movement," he said. "The ankle was a little sore and I was a little tentative at the start but it got better and better through the match."

  • SELECTED DAY 5 RESULTS

    Men's 3rd rd

    Daniel Evans (Gbr) bt Bernard Tomic (Aus) 7-5 7-6(7-2) 7-6(7-3), Andy Murray (Gbr) bt Sam Querrey (USA) 6-4 6-2 6-4, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra) bt Jack Sock (USA) 7-6(7-4) 7-5 6-7(10-8) 6-3, Mischa Zverev (Ger) bt Malek Jaziri (Tun) 6-1 4-6 6-3 6-0, Andreas Seppi (Ita) bt Steve Darcis (Bel) 4-6 6-4 7-6(7-1) 7-6(7-2).

    Women's 3rd rd

    Garbine Muguruza Blanco (Esp) bt Anastasija Sevastova (Lat) 6-4 6-2, Venus Williams (USA) bt Duan Yingying (Chn) 6-1 6-0, Coco Vandeweghe (USA) bt Eugenie Bouchard (Can) 6-4 3-6 7-5

    REUTERS

  • Melbourne Park Snippets

    STAT OF THE DAY
    21

    Temperature in degrees Celsius in Melbourne yesterday. Showers early in the day gave players a respite from the heat in Australia, after the scorching 38 deg C on Tuesday.

EVEN THE RUSSIANS SHUN ICE

Even though I'm from Russia, I hate cold weather and anything icy. I would rather do a sauna.

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA, who beat Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 5-7, 9-7 in 31/2 hours, is no fan of the ice baths which have become a common part of the recovery process.

Next up is an assignment with Mischa Zverev, the elder brother of highly-rated German teen Alexander, who came through in four sets against Tunisia's Malek Jaziri.

Kei Nishikori made it to the last 16 for the sixth straight year. He hit 46 winners, 27 of them with his forehand, in his 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over Slovak qualifier Lukas Lacko.

The Japanese fifth seed will face his first big challenge against Roger Federer, who sailed past Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in 90 minutes.

Any concerns that Federer, seeded 17th after an injury-hit 2016, might be in for a tough night evaporated with a double service break to lead the 10th-seeded Czech 5-2 in the opening set.

"I always felt I lift my game against the higher-ranked players, but I didn't expect it to go this hard," said the 35-year-old Federer, the 17-time Grand Slam champion.

"I had no expectations really for tonight, but I did surprise myself."

On facing Nishikori, he said: "I guess I'm ready, there's no turning back now."

In the women's draw, reigning champion Angelique Kerber said that she was finally finding her rhythm in Melbourne after racing into the round of 16 with a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic.

The German was an early-round loser at both of her warm-up tournaments. She was also taken to three sets in unconvincing wins in both rounds one and two.

But she clicked into gear against Pliskova, twin sister of US Open runner-up Karolina. The world No. 1 won in just 55 minutes to set up a last-16 clash with America's Coco Vandeweghe, who ousted Canadian starlet Eugenie Bouchard.

"It's great to have another good match under my belt and to be in the fourth round again here," the top seed told reporters.

"It's great. I'm looking forward to the next one. Yeah, I think that I'm finding my rhythm in the tournament now."

Venus Williams beat China's Duan Yingying 6-1, 6-0 to make the fourth round for a 10th time. She will next play German qualifier Mona Barthel.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

AUSTRALIAN OPEN

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2017, with the headline 'Fed makes swift progress'. Print Edition | Subscribe