Marinko Matosevic cautiously admits playing Sergiy Stakhovsky today for a place in the Sydney International semifinals is far more appealing than facing the great Roger Federer.
Matosevic, who had never won a main-draw match in Australia before this summer, is suddenly through to the quarter-finals for the second week in a row after also reaching the last eight at the Brisbane International.
But after running headfirst into a white-hot Federer in Brisbane, the Australian wildcard will meet Stakhovsky, a qualifier from Ukraine, for a possible semifinal shot at countryman and titleholder Bernard Tomic.
Matosevic, though, has good reason to be wary of the world No101 despite having had his measure in their last meeting at the 2012 Shanghai Masters.
For it was Stakhovsky who sensationally halted Federer's run of 34 consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final appearances with a second-round ambush of the Swiss master at Wimbledon last year.
"Obviously he can take that to the grave, beating Roger Federer on Centre Court at Wimbledon," Matosevic said after upsetting Italian third seed Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-4 yesterday.
"He'll take that. That's one of the greatest accomplishments you can have in this sport.
"But I'm feeling confident. I beat him the last time we played."
Ranked 56th in the world, Matosevic feels a much better player than that after claiming a series of top-20 scalps in 2013.
"My highest ranking is 39. I definitely think I can go higher," he said.
Focused only on Stakhovsky, Matosevic is refusing to let his mind wander to a potential semifinal showdown with Tomic in Sydney.
"I don't really look forward," he said. "I've done that before. Every tennis player has looked ahead and then you lose."