Tennis: Federer eases into last 16

It didn't take long for Roger Federer to rattle rising Australian tennis star Bernard Tomic.

Federer broke the 20-year-old Tomic's service in the first game of the match, ending a run of 76 consecutive service games held by Tomic, who won his first ATP tournament last week at the Sydney International.

The No 2 Federer, who has won 17 major titles, also beat Tomic in the fourth round of the 2012 Australian Open. Last year, he won with a 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory and a bit of a lesson for the young Australian. It was harder work for Federer this time but, when he recovered from 4-1 down to win the second set tie-break, the match was essentially decided and eventually won 6-4 7-6 (5) 6-1 late last night.

It was billed as Roger's Weekend at Bernie's but Rod Laver Arena remains very much Federer's house. No man has won more Open crowns at Melbourne Park than Federer and the Swiss master put paid to the Australian apprentice's immediate title ambitions with a sublime display.

Tomic's 10 straight wins this summer may have instilled the local hope with unshakeable belief but it counted for nothing as Federer swept imperiously to victory in less than two hours. Tomic was anything but poor, at times looking every bit the future grand slam champion he believes he is, but the great Swiss had every answer in a high-quality third-round contest.

It was Federer's fourth win from as four meetings with Tomic and only Tomic's fourth loss from his past 27 matches in Australia. But just like in the fourth round last year and in Davis Cup in Sydney in 2011, it was Federer who brought the young upstart down. Only Canadian Milos Raonic, who Federer has never lost to either, stands between the 17-times major champion and a 35th consecutive grand slam quarter-final appearance.

Bidding for an unprecedented fifth men's Open title, Federer snared the only three breaks of the match and offered up just one break point on his own serve in a commanding performance.

In the tiebreaker, Tomic produced a brilliant running forehand to jump to a 4-1 advantage and seemed poised to level the match up. But from 5-3 down, Federer reeled off four consecutive points to take a stranglehold on the third-round contest.

Australians hoping for an upset had to make do with an earlier upheaval; the biggest upset of the Australian Open so far came when Frenchman Jeremy Chardy dispatched the sixth seed, Juan Martin del Potro, in an epic third-round match.

Chardy was exceptional in opening up a two-set lead before the Argentine fought back to win the next two. But the world No36 broke del Potro's serve in a tense final set to go 5-3 up, then served out the match 6-3 6-3 6-7 (7-3) 3-6 6-3 in three hours and 45 minutes on Hisense Arena.

"I don't know what to say, I am so happy. I played my best tennis today," a surprised Chardy said after the match.

Chardy's touch and tenacity caught the big Argentine off guard as he struggled to find his range.Chardy, after del Potro rallied to level at two-all, got the crucial break in the eighth game of the fifth set and then held to clinch the match, closing with an ace. The world No 36 frustrated del Potro with a mix of drop shots, well-angled forehands and backhand slices, one of which sent del Potro into the stands in the third set.

Del Potro had been tipped as an outside contender for the title in the absence of 11-time major winner Rafael Nadal but his loss leaves only leaves three grand slam winners in the men's draw.

"Of course, it's not a good result after I came back from two sets down, but Jeremy played really well in the fifth set," he said. "He was so calm to close the match in the end. Jeremy played so strong during four hours. He made a lot of winners with the forehand, very good slices. In the end, when he had the chance to break me, he did. He played better in the important moments and he took the chance to win the match."

Chardy had a win over No3-ranked Andy Murray at Cincinnati last year but said the win over del Potro was a bigger personal achievement in the circumstances.

Meanwhile, Andy Murray overcame some nervous moments - including a second set break - before beating Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis 6-3 6-4 7-5. His timing was off, his frustration levels were up, but eventually Murray got over the determined Berankis.

It was anything but a regulation straight sets victory for the Scot. World No110 Berankis tested Murray's nerve - and at one point his anger management skills - before the Briton's quality prevailed. Murray made a rare show of anger as he smashed his racquet on the court during the second set, in which he trailed by a break. But he then reeled off four successive games to win the set, though he again had some anxious moments late in the third.

"I was struggling, and sometimes when you're struggling, you get frustrated," Murray said. "I need to strike the ball better - my timing is off. I was mistiming a lot of balls and leaving a lot of balls short."

Even so, he has yet to drop a set at this tournament. However, no first-time men's grand slam winner in the open era has gone on to win their next grand slam event - meaning last year's US Open winner Murray has a hoodoo to overcome at Melbourne Park.


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