Tennis: Tomas Berdych faces tall order in bogeyman Roger Federer

Tomas Berdych celebrating his victory over Fabio Fognini at the Australian Open on Jan 22, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MELBOURNE (AFP) - Tomas Berdych will face a familiar tricky problem after powering past Fabio Fognini into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Monday (Jan 22) for a seventh time.

The Czech, seeded 19th and a two-time semi-finalist in Melbourne, put away the 25th-seeded Italian 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in 2hr 8min on Margaret Court Arena.

His reward will be yet another match against the great Roger Federer, his fifth in Melbourne and his 26th overall.

The Swiss 19-time Grand Slam champion holds all the aces with a one-sided 19-6 record and Berdych knows he faces another tough challenge if he is to progress in the year's opening Grand Slam.

"If there is any plan or any key to success, then I would like to know that," he told reporters to the oft-asked question about his chances against Federer.

"I'm definitely going to go out there, try my best, try to play good tennis, and believe myself that I can do it.

"I did it in the past, and also, I did it in the Slams, so I know how it is to beat him for the best-of-five sets.

"But obviously he's an extremely tough opponent. I will just to go out there and swing at some balls."

Berdych was in little trouble against the maverick Fognini, breaking the Italian's serve six times and hitting 37 winners.

"I won in three sets, and that's it. So if we're going to go play tomorrow again, it would be probably a different match," Berdych said.

"You just have to take it as it is. I was expecting a tough one and I was ready for it. I had a good game plan, and I was able to execute it all the way through the three sets, so I did it way better today."

Berdych went into Monday's match holding the record for the most number of Australian Open last-16 appearances by a Czech man with 10 ahead of Ivan Lendl's eight.

He said he was feeling much better after back issues flared late last year.

"I'm enjoying it a lot. I'm glad to be back in the shape that I am right now, which is finally healthy and that makes the difference," he said.

"I can play freely and I can have joy from the tennis. I can enjoy the time being on court. Yeah, the results are coming with that."

He improved his record to 44-14 at the Australian Open, representing his most successful major tournament in terms of matches won and quarter-finals reached.

Berdych has reached the semi-finals twice in Melbourne, losing to Stan Wawrinka in 2014 and against former world No. 1 Andy Murray the following year.

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