Roger Federer continues Australian Open defence with Richard Gasquet defeat
Novak Djokovic suffers injury scare in straight sets success over Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Last Updated: 24/05/18 2:24pm
Roger Federer continued his defence of the Australian Open with an assured straight-sets victory over Richard Gasquet to reach the fourth round.
The second seed came into the meeting, which closed Saturday's night session on Rod Laver Arena, with a 16-2 head-to-head record over his French opponent and secured a 6-2 7-5 6-4 win inside two hours.
Federer, yet to lose a set in the tournament, was broken for the first time in the match at the tail end of the third set but recovered to secure a ffith break of serve to set up a first career meeting with unseeded Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, who defeated Argentine Nicolas Kicker.
"I feel like he played a little bit more offensive than me and I think I held onto my serve a little bit better," Federer said in his on-court interview.
"I had a good off-season and I feel fit and strong which is different to last year when I didn't know how fit I was.
"Expectations are different so that is a good thing - it shows I had a good season last year. I had a good off-season and I feel fit and strong which is different to last year when I didn't know how fit I was."
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The 19-time Grand Slam champion, who along with world No 1 Rafael Nadal is the only player to reach the last 16 without dropping a set, began in ominous fashion breaking Gasquet's serve in the fourth game of the first set before a second break set Federer on his way against his 31-year-old opponent.
The second set was evenly contested despite Federer's ruthlessness behind serve and it took the five-time Australian Open champion until the 12th game of the set to secure the decisive break.
With the finishing line edging closer Federer appeared to momentarily lose his concentration as Gasquet brought up his first break point of the match with the 36-year-old serving with a break advantage at 4-2.
Gasquet secured his first break of the match on his second opportunity but was broken serving to stay in the match at 4-5, with Federer benefiting from a net cord to finish the match with a backhand volley winner.
There was also straightforward success for six-time champion Novak Djokovic who beat Alber Ramos-Vinolas despite requiring treatment for an injury on the court.
The Serb, aiming to surpass Roy Emerson as the tournament's most successful male singles player with a seventh title, was a 6-2 6-3 6-3 winner over the Spaniard.
But given his extended absence from the Tour after Wimbledon last year with an elbow injury, all injury worries are cause for concern and he had treatment on his lower back and leg
"I knew I wanted to use the medical time-out because I needed it but at the same time I knew it was nothing major that can potentially raise the question mark on whether I can continue playing or not. It was fine," he said afterwards.
"This didn't happen too many times in my career that I have maybe some tensions in the muscles or whatever. But these kind of circumstances in which I'm in at the moment are quite different - I've never faced a situation where I didn't compete for six months."
"I'm really pleased with where my game is at at the moment. I know that matches from this moment onwards will get tougher and tougher. I'm looking forward to the next challenge."
Djokovic next faces Korea's Hyeon Chung on Monday for a place in the quarter-final.
Australian Open - Fourth Round Draw
|Rafael Nadal (1)||v||Diego Schwartzmann (24)|
|Pablo Carreno-Busta (10)||v||Marin Cilic (6)|
|Grigor Dimitrov (3)||v||Nick Kyrgios (17)|
|Kyle Edmund||v||Andreas Seppi|
|Dominic Thiem (5)||v||Tennys Sandgren|
|Novak Djokovic (14)||v||Hyeon Chung|
|Fabio Fognini (25)||v||Tomas Berdych (19)|
|Marton Fucsovics||v||Roger Federer (2)|
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