Posted On Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 07:51:17 AM
Roger Federer said he was energised by facing younger players after handing Milos Raonic a masterclass in clinical tennis at the Australian Open on Monday to reach a 35th straight Grand Slam quarter-final.
Federer defused the 22-year-old Canadian’s serve and held his own comfortably before shifting up the gears when necessary to race to a 6-4 7-6 6-2 victory in a little under two hours.
After world number one Novak Djokovic was taken to the brink of defeat in a five-hour thriller against Federer’s fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka on Sunday, there was much anticipation that the second seed could face a similar challenge.
Big-serving Raonic had taken a set off Federer in all three of their previous meetings but even that never looked likely in their fourth round clash on a cool Rod Laver Arena.
Federer wrapped up the first set when Raonic netted a volley, the second with a brilliant forehand down the line to take the tiebreak 7-4, and the third with another forehand winner.
The only man in the tournament who has yet to lose a service game, Federer gave up only five points on his first serve in the match against Raonic.
Despite the lesson he handed out to Australian Bernard Tomic in the third round and Raonic on Monday, Federer said he no longer felt he had to make a statement when was playing talented youngsters.
Meanwhile, the toughest sides of the men’s and women’s draws at the Australian Open are progressing true to form. A consequence of that smooth sailing is the likelihood now of some semi-finals worthy of any Grand Slam title matches.
Serena Williams, chasing her third consecutive Grand Slam title, is still on court for a potential meeting with No. 1-ranked and defending champion Victoria Azarenka in the semis, with French Open champion Maria Sharapova, the form player from the other half of the women’s draw, likely to be the opponent for the final.
Williams and Azarenka were even more dominant, losing just four games between them against their Russian rivals. The third-seeded Williams beat Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 6-0 and Azarenka defeated Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-1.
Five months after he ended a 76-year drought for British men in Grand Slam tournaments with a win at the US Open, Andy Murray is on track to make it two in a row. He’ll next play unseeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who beat him the last time the pair met in Cincinnati.
Simon was coming off a tough five-set win over fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils. Chardy followed up his upset win over 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro by beating another higher ranked player in the fourth round, defeating No. 21 Andreas Seppi 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
Another Frenchman through was seventh-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat his old friend Richard Gasquet 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. Tsonga, who lost the 2008 Australian Open final to Djokovic, plays Federer in the quarterfinals.
There have been few such close matches on the women’s side, where Sharapova, who plays Ekaterina Makarova in a quarterfinal on Tuesday, has lost only five games in her first four matches.
Azarenka finding from
Williams hasn’t dropped a set, and Azarenka has dropped just one. She started last season with a 26- match winning streak, including a lopsided victory over Sharapova in the Australian Open final.
But she needs to successfully defend her Australian title to hold the top spot she’s held for all but a few weeks since then.
Next up for Azarenka is a quarterfinal against two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova, who entered the season’s first major ranked No. 75 but advanced to the quarters with a win over Caroline Wozniacki.
India’s challenge ended in the men’s doubles event of the Australian Open with the defeat of Mahesh Bhupathi and Daniel Nestor even as Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna progressed to the mixed doubles quarter-finals with their respective partners.
The fifth seeded duo of Bhupathi and Canadian partner Nestor was sent packing 3-6 6-4 3-6 by the unseeded Italian combo of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini in the second round.
Sania and her new American partner Bob advanced with a come-from-behind win. The third seeded team defeated the US team of Abigail Spears and Scott Lipsky 4-6 6-1 10-4 in the second round.
They will now fight it out with the Czech team of Lucie Hradecka and Frantisek Cermak for a place in the semi-finals. - PTI