Easy Day For Federer, Nadal Who Dominate Youngsters At Australian Open; Djokovic Duels Shapovalov Next
by Staff | January 18th, 2019, 9:02 am
  • 2 Comments

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both faced tests from young NextGen players Friday at the Australian Open, and not surprisingly, both passed those tests with flying colors.

In the afternoon, Federer had no trouble in putting away 21-year-old American Taylor Fritz 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 to win his 17th straight Australian Open match and reach his 17th fourth round at the event.

Federer will next take on a younger player in Stefanos Tsitsipas who outlasted Nikolaz Basilishvili 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 to make his first Australian Open fourth round.

“I’m happy I played against him at the Hopman Cup,” Federer said of the Greek. “I think he played really well there. I actually did too – I thought it was really high-quality tennis.

“This is obviously a different type of match, it being best of five, it being the fourth round of a Slam, where we know now how we feel on this court. I think he had to work extremely hard against Basilashvili again today, because he hits hard. I saw him before I went out, really defending well, and a lot.

“I’m happy for him. He’s playing so well, and I’m looking forward to the matchup with him. I think it’s going to be a good one. I like how he mixes up his game and also comes to the net. So will I. I think we will see some athletic attacking tennis being played.”

Said Tsitsipas, “I learned a lot since my last match with him. I know the patterns that he’s using a bit better now. He’s serving really well, so I’m going to have to utilise his, and take advantage of my returns as much as possible. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be serving well, so, yeah, return games need to be aggressive and pressing a lot. Yeah, he’s a legend of our sport. It will be a great day facing him in one of the best arenas, Rod Laver. I’m really excited for that match.”

In the evening, Nadal got his second look at Aussie Alex de Minaur after Wimbledon, and the result was pretty similar as Nadal won 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in 2 hours, 22 minutes. The 19-year-old de Minaur put up a good fight just at the end, but Nadal was too strong.

“I believe that I played a solid match,” Nadal said. “I played a good level of tennis, hitting a lot of good spots especially during the first two sets. Tried to don’t let him play comfortable.

“I think for moments I tried to make him feel that my ball was good enough that he was not having the control of the point almost never. I know he’s dangerous. He’s super quick. He likes to go inside the court fast. I tried to not give him many chances on that.

“He’s young. He has that extra energy that the young guys have. Always is a dangerous match. Very happy with the victory.”

After three straight wins over Australians, Nadal now resumes his series with Czech veteran Tomas Berdych. Berdych had been off the tour since Queen’s recovering from a back injury, but since his return in Doha, he’s been on fire winning 7 of 8 matches including a 4-set 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 victory Friday.

“Another good day at the office, I played a really good match,” said Berdych who has lost just one set so far. “Diego gave me a very good challenge. I was strong, I was ready today.”

Also continuing his breakout week was American Frances Tiafoe. The 20-year-old scored his first career 5-set win coming back on Italian vet Andrea Seppi 6-7(3), 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

“I’m taking the game to the guys,” said Tiafoe. “I’m playing very aggressive, trying to put things in my terms. Also I’m competing really well, staying in the rallies. Not bailing out. Going point in, point out.”

With Tiafoe serving for the fourth at 5-4, Seppi had 0-40 but couldn’t break through.

“That was a huge turning point for me,” Tiafoe said of the moment. “He breaks there, he can say he wins the match. Yeah, I mean, that was a huge hold for me to extend the match. Yeah, he makes you play a ton of balls. He’s so solid. He’s one hell of a player.”

Tiafoe now takes on former semifinalist and Agassi-led Grigor Dimitrov after the Bulgarian beat Thomas Fabbiano in straight sets.

“It should be good,” Tiafoe added. “We’re good friends. Yeah, he’s going to come out obviously just competing like crazy. So am I. It’s a big match to get to the final eight. Obviously he made the final eight last year, so he wants to get back there, start the year off well, get back to where he deserves to be, which is top five, in my opinion. Yeah, again, I’m not going to be an easy out for him.”

Roberto Bautista Agut finally had a straightforward match beating Karen Khachanov in straight sets. He’ll now face Marin Cilic who saved two match points in a win over Fernando Verdasco in five sets and 4 hours, 18 minutes 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(8), 6-3.

Would you believe Verdasco double faulted on his second match point up 8-7 in the fourth set tiebreaker? Of course.

On Saturday, Novak Djokovic will face Canadian teen Denis Shapovalov. Djokovic is 30-0 as a top seed at the Australian Open while the 19-year-old Shapovalov hasn’t dropped a set. Djokovic will keep No. 1 with a win.

Kei Nishikori, Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev are also scheduled.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN SATURDAY SCHEDULE
Rod Laver Arena
From 11:00am AEDT
S. Zhang v E. Svitolina(6)
Not before 1:00pm AEDT
D. Yastremska v S. Williams(16)
Not before 2:30pm AEDT
N. Djokovic(1) v D. Shapovalov(25)
From 7:00pm AEDT
A. Zverev(4) v A. Bolt(WC)
C. Giorgi(27) v Ka. Pliskova(7)

Margaret Court Arena
From 11:00am AEDT
N. Osaka(4) v S. Hsieh(28)
Not before 12:30pm AEDT
J. Sousa v K. Nishikori(8)
E. Mertens(12) v M. Keys(17)
From 7:00pm AEDT
S. Halep(1) v V. Williams
L. Pouille(28) v A. Popyrin(WC)

Melbourne Arena
From 11:00am AEDT
Doubles
Not before 12:30pm AEDT
D. Goffin(21) v D. Medvedev(15)
P. Herbert v M. Raonic(16)
Not before 7:00pm AEDT
T. Bacsinszky v G. Muguruza(18)


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2 Comments for Easy Day For Federer, Nadal Who Dominate Youngsters At Australian Open; Djokovic Duels Shapovalov Next

Daniel Says:

Things are shaping up for a Fedal semis. Both won in easy straight sets all 3 matches.
Nadal has Berdych, who seems to be feeling the ball nice, he likes this courts; than Tiafoe or Dimi. All mental cases, so we don’t know what to expect. But judging by Nadal’s form, I think he is favorite in those matches. Maybe if he loses 1st set and has a long match he can be in some trouble.

Fed has Tsisi than Agut or Cilic. Cilic just escaped Verdasco in 5 so don’t know if he will revert his form in time. He gave a fight for Fed last AO final tough. Agut played tow 5 setters already and Tsisi seems a bit green still.

Also Zverev looks good for his 1st Slam semis. He has a WC, than Raonic (always coming back form injury) than Coric/Pouille. He couldn’t ask for a greater path. Maybe Coric can surprise.


lylenubbins Says:

Looking forward to Fed/Tsisi! Fed was awesome against

Milos is playing very well, he’s a threat to Zverev.

Berdych is capable of a terrifying Safin-esque level of tennis. Has his layoff and comeback enabled him to reach that level against Rafa? Probably not, but we shall see . . .

Liking Tiafoe’s changes against Grigor. Frances is on fire and the crowd I would think will be for him.

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