Roger Federer roared into his 13th straight Australian Open fourth round on Saturday after a comprehensive 62, 62, 63 victory over Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili. The Swiss wrapped up a good first week with new coahc Stefan Edberg without losing a set but was fortunate to not have faced any real competition.
However moving forward Federer could be on a treacherous path that might take him through Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic if he is to win a fifth Australian Open. That four players who have all beaten Federer in Grand Slam play.
“I have had tough draws throughout my career,” Federer said. “Not every time, but I have played what, 60 slams and many tournaments, so I remember tough draws in early rounds. Clearly now it’s not how it used to be when there was only 16 seeds and I was the 32 seed. Now with the 32 seeds it’s a bit more predictable. A lot more predictable actually. That’s one of the reasons I think I have always been able to go deep in slams, especially once I got was able to be seeded. I took advantage of that.
“This is clearly, you know, a tough draw I have had, especially looking forward now. But important now for me is just that I keep playing well and I don’t go crazy of who I play now.”
Federer’s road will begin Monday night with a rematch against Tsonga who Roger beat in five sets a year ago in Australia.
“He clearly is going to surprise you just by shot making or whatever it is,” Federer said. “If he hits a winner, I know probably where he’s going to go, what the percentage is. But then again, because he hits it so well and so consistently, that’s what makes it hard then, you know. He’s got a huge serve, which then is also is a huge part of the game which increases the pressure or not on your own service games.
“He’s a great mover. So, I mean, you just know what to expect, which is good for better tennis for both players. I know that Simon and Tsonga are going to be tough opponents, and it’s just now up to me to bring it, you know, in the next match.”
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