For the first time at this year’s Australian Open, Roger Federer was scheduled to play in the daylight! There had been comments about his continual appearances in the evening schedule thereby avoiding the full heat of the Aussie sun, so the night owl was finally drawn out into the open on Rod Laver Arena.
I thought he was playing really clean, solid, Credit to him for playing a great tournament. Roger Federer
Asked to comment on the difference it made, Federer pointed out: “I was considering sunglasses and a towel for the beach but, no, the only thing is the racket strings are a bit tighter to help control the ball, but it’s not crazy hot today.”
He added: ” I just had to set my alarm at a different time. It’s a different rhythm playing in the day and not going to bed at 3am.”
It certainly made no difference to his game as he strode into the quarter-finals for a 14th time in Melbourne, following a straight-sets win over the Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, completed in just one-minute over two hours.
And with his 6-4 7-6(3) 6-2 victory, the Swiss Maestro and world No.2 becomes the oldest player to reach the last eight at the Aussie Open since Ken Rosewall (43 years, 59 days) in 1977!
In addition, his opponent is being coached by former pro-circuit Attila Savolt and was beaten by the Swiss in Melbourne 16 years ago. As Michael Caine would say, ‘Not a lot of people know that!’
On this occasion he never faced a break point and he broke Fucosvics, the world No.80, three times from 10 chances to seal the deal and move into the last eight, continuing his excellent run towards the defence of his title.
Federer has now won 12 consecutive sets and extended his Open Era record by reaching his 52nd Grand Slam quarter-final.
While it always looks easy for Federer, Fucsovics hardly rolled over. The 25-year-old Hungarian, playing in his first Grand Slam fourth round, wasn’t intimidated by the occasion, particularly in the first two sets.
“I thought he was playing really clean, solid,” Federer admitted after the match. “Credit to him for playing a great tournament.”
The 36-year-old now takes on Tomas Berdych in the next round and if the pundits are right, should face Novak Djokovic for a place in the final.
Berdych, though, is out for revenge having lost 19 of their previous 25 meetings, the most recent being in the semi-finals of Wimbledon last year.
On the Margaret Court Arena, the big Czech required just two hours to power his way past the flamboyant Fabio Fognini 6-1 6-4 6-4 to reach his seventh quarter-final in Melbourne in his 15th appearance down under. He broke the Italian six times and struck 37 winners in what was a comfortable outing for the 32-year-old.
“What to say?” quipped Berdych when reminded of his record against the great Swiss. “Let’s see who’s going to win. I have no choice to choose the opponent and may the better man win.
“I am going to get myself ready, it’s all I can do and prepare the best I can. So far I think I’ve done pretty well. I’m feeling good, healthy, so I feel I am on the best base line I can be.”
Commenting on his match with Fognini, Berdych added: “He’s a very tough opponent. You especially have to stay very focused from the first point to the last because you never know what’s going to come up.
“He can always come up from the back of the court with amazing shots and turn the match around so being focused was the best thing I could have done today.”