In the 2017 Australian Open, Roger Federer’s victories over Jurgen Melzer and Noah Rubin in earlier rounds could not prove his true fitness after a long injury-forced absence from the tennis circuit. The real test came, when the Swiss maestro faced 10th seeded Czech Tomas Berdych in the third round. Berdych is a high quality player but Federer’s master class swallowed him in straight sets. That was the conclusive proof that 17-time Grand Slam winner Federer is now back to his best. Federer’s fourth round opponent is another classy player Kei Nishikori, who has the capability of beating the former world no.1 but Federer said he was ready for the Japanese world no. 5. On Friday, Berdych was the only high-rank men’s player to exit this year’s Australian Open. Among women, the highest seed to fall was Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, who had defeated former world no.1 Serena Williams at Rio Olympics. In Melbourne, however, Svitolina suffered a three-set loss on Friday against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Other notable third day winners were top seeded Andy Murray, no.4 seed Stan Wawrinka, no.5 seed Kei Nishikori and Murray’s compatriot Dan Evans. Among women, defending champion Angelique Kerber, no.7 seeded Garbine Muguruza, no.8 seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova, no.13 seed Venus Williams and her fast-rising compatriot Coco Vandeweghe also cruised to the fourth round.
Roger Federer was all master class in his 92-minute 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Czech Republic’s 10th seeded Tomas Berdych. Federer finished the first set in 27 minutes and kept the momentum all through the match. The Swiss began the second set by breaking Berdych’s service in the opening game and kept that advantage by playing aggressively. The 10th was a service game for Federer and he didn’t ease any pressure on the Czech. The former champion held two sets points at 40-15 and converted on the second, when Berdych couldn’t deal with his second service. The third set was a replica of the second as Berdych was broken once again in his opening game. Federer adopted a professional approach and kept holding his service while also unnerving Berdych, when he served. After 1 hour 32 minutes. It was all over for Berdych as Federer came out with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 victory. Next up for the big Swiss is no.5 seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori, who also scored a straight sets 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over Slovakian qualifier Lukas Lacko.
World no.1 and top-seeded Andy Murray of Great Britain has already become the top title-winning favorite at Melbourne after Djokovic’s surprise exit yesterday. The Brit was relentless in his third-round 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 victory over USA’s Sam Querrey. Murray hardly did anything wrong against the tricky American on Friday and he will now play against Germany’s Mischa Zverev for a place in the quarterfinals. 2014 Australian Open winner Stan Wawrinka also reached the round-of-sixteen with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 victory over Serbia’s Viktor Troicki. Wawrinka’s fourth-round opponent will be the Italian journeyman Andreas Seppi, who came through by beating Belgium’s Steve Darcis 4-6, 6-4, 7-6, 7-6. Another Briton Dan Evans joined compatriot Andy Murray in Round-of-sixteen with a brilliant 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 victory over Australian 27th seed Bernard Tomic. This is the first time that Evans has reached this far in a Grand Slam tournament but his real test comes in fourth round, when he plays against French 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. On his part, Tsonga defeated 23rd seeded USA’s Jack Sock 7–6, 7–5, 6–7, 6–3.
In women’s draw, top-seeded defending champion Angelique Kerber, who had dropped a set each in her first two rounds, scored a comfortable 6-0, 6-4 victory over Czech Republic’s Kristyna Pliskova. Kerber’s next opponent will be USA’s Coco Vandenweghe, who defeated Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. Other women, who sailed into fourth round were Spanish 7th seed Garbine Muguruza with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova; USA’s no.13 seeded Venus Williams with a commanding 6-1, 6-0 victory over China’s Ying-Ying Duan; Britain’s Mona Barthel, a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 winner over Australian Ashleigh Barty and no.8 seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, who ended the run of Serbian veteran Jelena Jankovic with a 6-4, 5-7, 9-7 victory.
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