Roger Federer of Switzerland (L) shakes hands with Milos
Raonic of Canada after defeating him in their men's singles
match at the Australian Open in Melbourne. REUTERS/David
Roger Federer delivered a lesson to the next generation
at the Australian Open, extending his record to a 35th
consecutive grand slam quarter-final after Serena Williams set
up a clash with her would-be successor.
The Swiss maestro sent 22-year-old Canadian Milos Raonic
packing with a 6-4 7-6 6-2 masterclass under the lights of
Rod Laver Arena, providing a blueprint for Williams ahead of
her all-American quarter-final against teenager Sloane
The 31-year-old Williams appeared in little need for tips,
however, as she demolished Maria Kirilenko 6-2 6-0 earlier in
the evening session to notch her 35th appearance in the last
eight of a grand slam.
U.S. Open champion Andy Murray, who like Federer has not lost
a set at Melbourne Park, clobbered shattered 14th seed Gilles
Simon 6-3 6-1 6-3 to go to within three wins of back-to-back
grand slam titles.
Needing a measly 57 minutes to despatch the 14th-seeded
Russian, Williams will face another woman in a hurry in
The wise-cracking up-and-comer has been touted as an heir to
the 15-times grand slam champion Williams and burnished her
credentials with a poised 6-1 3-6 7-5 win over Serbia's
Bojana Jovanovski in the afternoon sun at Hisense Arena.
Williams has been branded a mentor to the impressive
Stephens, whom she beat in the leadup tournament in Brisbane
but with a sixth title at Melbourne Park on the line, she
quickly backed away from the role.
"I don't know. I mean, I would need a better definition of
the word 'mentor'," Williams told reporters.
"It's hard to be a real mentor when you're still in
Federer smacked down Australian upstart Bernard Tomic in
three sets in the previous round, and was in no mood to
emulate defending champion Novak Djokovic, who was stuck on
centre court for five hours the previous night before wearing
down Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka.
Federer drew the big-serving Canadian's sting in a tight
second set and romped to victory with 34 sparkling winners to
set up a quarter-final with France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
"I just try to go out there and play my best, regardless if
they're young or not," said Federer, bidding for a fifth
title at Melbourne Park. "But I get a lift, as well, in terms
of energy playing against those kind of guys."
The 13th seed Raonic, tipped to trouble the heavyweights in
years to come, played with a local anaesthetic to ease the
pain of a foot injury, and nearly pulled out of the match.
"So I didn't really get a chance to hit before my match ...
(He) just sort of swept me off the court," Raonic said.
Britain's Murray derived little joy from his win over Simon,
with the Frenchman reduced to a staggering wreck in the
Simon had been exhausted by compatriot Gael Monfils in a
five-set marathon in his previous match and could do little
more than stick out his racket and hope as he slumped to his
10th straight loss to the Scot.
The monotoned Murray has made an art form of sounding blase
about rollicking victories, but struck a new depth of
melancholy as he lamented the lack of competition at his
post-match media conference.
"It was kind of tough. A tough situation for both players -
more obviously for him... It didn't feel like that
competitive," said Murray, who will face another Frenchman in
surprise package Jeremy Chardy.
Four Frenchmen advanced to the last 16 at Melbourne Park for
the first time since 1998 and 36th-ranked Chardy kept the
flag waving with a 5-7 6-3 6-2 6-2 win over 21st seeded
Italian Andreas Seppi.
That secured Chardy's maiden grand slam quarter-final and
ensured France would have two men in the last eight, with
seventh seed Tsonga grinding down ninth-seeded compatriot
Richard Gasquet 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-2.
Unfancied and unseeded, the scruffy-bearded Chardy stunned
sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro in his previous match and
said he had nothing to lose against Murray, who he beat in
straight sets in Cincinnati last year after losing all four
of their previous matches.
"(It's) just like a dream," the thrilled 25-year-old told
reporters. "I know I can beat everybody. So when I feel
confident, I believe in me. Against Del Potro, I played a
very good match. So it was good for my head."
World number one Victoria Azarenka was back at her ruthless
best in a 6-1 6-1 demolition of 47th-ranked Russian Elena
Vesnina after being taken the distance in her previous match
by American Jamie Hampton.
She faces a stiffer challenge in the quarter-finals against
another Russian in Svetlana Kuznetsova, who sent 10th seed
Caroline Wozniacki spinning out of the tournament and out of
the top 10 when the next round of rankings are released.
Kuznetsova, the 2004 U.S. Open champion and winner at Roland
Garros in 2009, spent much of last year on crutches with a
knee injury, and was thrilled to secure her third
quarter-final at Melbourne Park.
"If you had asked me before coming to Australia I would have
laughed, definitely," Kuznetsova said of her surprise run.