Roger Federer of Switzerland watches the ball during his
men's singles match against Bernard Tomic of Australia at
the Australian Open in Melbourne. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz
Roger Federer was in no mood to let a trend develop after
the first real upsets of the week at the Australian Open tennis
and slapped down local upstart Bernard Tomic with authority to
reach the fourth round.
Juan Martin del Potro stunned Federer to win the U.S. Open in
2009 but the Argentine sixth seed was on the receiving end of
the shock on Saturday when an inspired Jeremy Chardy led a
four-strong French charge into the last 16.
Serena Williams and Andy Murray never looked like losing
sometimes challenging contests earlier in the day but
defending champion and world number one Victoria Azarenka had
a closer call and was forced to dig deep for her victory.
All eyes were on the evening match in Rod Laver Arena,
however, where Tomic had been talking up his chances of
translating his good early-season form into a victory over a
player rated by many as the best to ever pick up a racket.
Tomic gave his best and came within two points of winning a
thrilling second-set tiebreak but the 17-time grand-slam
champion simply upped the gears, pulled out a couple of
extraordinary winners, and raced away to a 6-4 7-6 6-1
"I had to be able to bring the whole repertoire to the court
today, defence and offence, which I enjoy," said the second
seed, who next faces Milos Raonic, before offering some
advice to Tomic.
"I think it's important to be confident but obviously you
respect the game and you respect the other players. I think
he has a lot of respect for me."
Del Potro battled back from two sets down to level his
third-round contest but the mercurial Chardy grabbed a break
in the decider and held his nerve to serve out for a 6-3 6-3
6-7 3-6 6-3 win.
"I had nothing to lose today so it was easy to play," said
the world number 36. "It's a big win for me, maybe the best
of my career."
After five days without any upsets of note at the year's
first grand slam, two came along within minutes.
As Chardy was packing up his rackets on Hisense Arena,
Italian Andreas Seppi was securing his place as the
Frenchman's next opponent by wrapping up a 6-7 6-3 2-6 6-4
6-2 win over Croatian 12th seed Marin Cilic, a semi-finalist
Azarenka had to come back from a break down in the deciding
set to avoid the same fate against injury-hampered American
Jamie Hampton and her relief at her 6-4 4-6 6-2 win was
"She took a medical timeout but she rips winners all over the
place," said Azarenka. "I was like: 'Can I have a back
problem? I'm feeling great but I'm missing every shot'."
Williams, seeking a sixth title at Melbourne Park, also
wobbled a bit at 3-0 down in the second set against world
number 72 Ayumi Morita after losing her serve for the first
time in the tournament.
The third seed showed no discomfort from the ankle strain she
sustained in the opening round, however, and stormed back to
win the next six games and dismiss the Japanese 6-1 6-3.
"I feel good," the 31-year-old American said. "I feel today
was actually a really good match for me. I was involved in a
lot of longer points, something I definitely wanted."
U.S. Open champion Murray berated himself for playing
"nonsense" tennis at times but eventually broke down his
Lithuanian practice partner Ricardas Berankis 6-3 6-4 7-5
after a tricky 132 minutes in the Melbourne sun.
"Sometimes when you are struggling, you get very frustrated,"
said the British third seed. "I need to strike the ball
better. My timing was off and I was leaving a lot of balls
very short and allowing him to dictate some of the points."
Murray was able to put his feet up and watch his next
opponent Gilles Simon beat compatriot Gael Monfils 6-4 6-4
4-6 1-6 8-6 in a four-hour, 43-minute marathon that ensured
four Frenchman would be in the fourth round for the first
time since 1998.
Ninth seed Richard Gasquet's progress was by no means smooth
and he was a set and a break down before he charged back to
beat Croatian Ivan Dodig 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-0.
His seventh-seeded compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had an
easier day, hammering Blaz Kavcic 6-2 6-1 6-4 as the
Slovenian paid the price for the nearly five hours he spent
in the sweltering heat on Thursday in his second-round tie.
"We have a lot of good players," said Chardy. "I think
everybody starts to play well this year. I don't know what is
the thing. We just play good."
Japan has also had a good tournament but Kimiko Date-Krumm's
fairytale run came to an end with a 6-2 7-6 defeat to Serbian
Bojana Jovanovski, who was born two years after her
42-year-old opponent made her debut at Melbourne Park.