Roger Federer was all business in the 3rd round as he swept aside big-hitting Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 to advance to his 13th consecutive Australian Open round of 16. The last time he failed to reach the 4th round was 2001.
Fed started off strong in the first, hitting 12 winners in the opening set to only 4 errors and he wrapped it up in 33 minutes (though he did face 15-40 in his opening service game). The second set was almost identical (11 winners to 4 errors) and it was won in 39 minutes. The third set was a little more error prone (10 errors) but he still got through the whole match with relative ease. He saved 5 break points and has now only been broken once in 9 sets of tennis.
Gabashvili has great power off the ground but his big weakness is the serve, which is an odd weakness for him to have since he's a fairly tall man. He gave Fed some trouble from the ground on occasions throughout the contest but he had no consistency to trouble Roger.
Next up for the Fed is the big match against Tsonga, who took out a tired Gilles Simon in straights. This is probably the hardest 4th round contest Federer will have since facing Tommy Haas at the French Open in 2009 (and before that, Haas at the Australian Open in 2006). The big Frenchman is in good form and it should be a very difficult match, but I wouldn't be shocked to see Roger play a good match and rise to the occasion - you have to think he needs to avoid going 5 sets if he wants to have any chance against Murray in the quarters. He'll need to serve well (the new frame should help), and he has to mix it up off the ground, like he does regularly against del Potro.
In other matches, Rafael Nadal cruised against Gael Monfils 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 in what on paper should have been a more competitive match. Andy Murray dismantled Feliciano Lopez after a slow start, and in one of the more entertaining matches of the day, Grigor Dimitrov took out Milos Raonic 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(10) to make his first ever round of 16 in a major. The Bulgarian played fantastic tennis, hitting 49 winners to just 13 errors!
It should be a cracking encounter between Roger and Jo, and it's a shame it has to come so early in the tournament. A match like this should be a quarter or a semi. I expect Fed to bring his best and my prediction is that he will win in 4 tight sets 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.
This is my tennis blog, Lefty Advantage. Tennis is my biggest passion in life and I started this site to discuss the great game. I mainly follow the career of Roger Federer, but I truly love watching all tennis, whether it be the final of a Grand Slam or a junior tournament on the other side of the world.
I have played tennis for 13 years. If you ever met me, I could talk your head off about all things tennis for hours on end if you would let me. Welcome, and enjoy the writing!