Federer, Nadal reach Australian Open last 16

Federer, Nadal reach Australian Open last 16
Roger Federer made light work of Taylor Fritz with a straight sets win at the Australian Open.
Melbourne, Jan 18 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 1/18/2019 12:33:50 PM IST

Roger Federer celebrated his 100th match at the Australian Open on Friday by giving young American Taylor Fritz a centre court schooling to reach the last 16 and set up a mouthwatering clash with ‘Next Gen’ champion Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Chasing a record seventh Melbourne title and his third in succession, the 37-year-old Swiss has been in ominous form at the year’s first Grand Slam and his 6-2 7-5 6-2 masterclass at Rod Laver Arena was another warning to the Tour’s upstarts.

Fritz, 21, was meant to offer Federer a meaningful test with his prodigious serve and powerful ground-strokes but was instead sent packing after less than 90 minutes.

Third seed Federer tied the American in knots with a sumptuous array of drop shots, angled volleys and winners conjured seemingly at will from behind the baseline.

The shaggy-haired 20-year-old has ridden a wave of support from Melbourne’s huge Greek community at the tournament.

Federer has his own army of fans at Melbourne Park, however, and they hung on his every word as he delivered words of encouragement to the young pretenders seeking to knock him off the perch.

Federer has reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for a record-extending 63rd time in the professional era and may still be the best equipped player to deny top seed Novak Djokovic from claiming a third Grand Slam title in succession.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal gave local hope Alex de Minaur another tennis lesson with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win in the third round.

De Minaur came into the Australian Open on a high having won the Sydney International last week but was outclassed by Nadal, who will play Tomas Berdych in the fourth round.

It was Nadal’s third match in a row against Australians this tournament, having beaten James Duckworth and Matthew Ebden in the first two rounds.

Maria Sharapova wins

Maria Sharapova turned back the clock to knock out defending Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki in a barnstormer of a contest on Rod Laver Arena on Friday.

Sharapova, who won the tournament in 2008, came through a lung-busting clash 6-4 4-6 6-3 hitting 37 winners on her way to a thrilling victory.

Wozniacki raced to a 4-1 lead in the opening set but Sharapova raised her level and reeled off the next five games to grab the early advantage in the contest.

The second set followed a similar pattern before Wozniacki took advantage of Sharapova’s sloppy serving late on to drag the match into a decider. 

The Russian was not to be denied, however, as she closed out the win on her second match point in 2 hours and 24 minutes.

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