18th January, 2014
Record Grand Slam champion Roger Federer cruised into the fourth round of the Australian Open on Saturday, downing unseeded Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili in straight sets.
The Swiss great, who is chasing his fifth Australian crown, has now made the round of 16 at Melbourne for the 13th straight year after a workmanlike 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win in one hour 41 minutes.
It was his 71st match victory at Melbourne Park to extend his record at the Australian Open and set up a clash against either 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon.
It was a confident performance from Federer, who is looking to become the second man after Australian Roy Emerson to win five Australian Open singles titles.
He broke the 79th ranked Gabashvili’s service five times and did not lose a serve, while hitting 35 winners with 18 unforced errors.
“It was a tough year last year and it took some time to figure out what I needed to do to feel better and to get my confidence back, because that’s what I thought it was mostly,” Federer said.
“For the last four to five months I feel that I’m back to normal again and at least I feel I’ve done the work to catch up and haven’t had any setbacks, so it’s very positive.”
Federer said his first goal was to get through to the second week in Melbourne.
“I didn’t have the best of Wimbledon and US Opens last year, and I didn’t want to get ahead of myself,” he said.
“Now the draw is getting extremely difficult, regardless of whether it is Jo-Wilfried or Gilles, but I’m looking forward to it … I’ve done the work and haven’t lost a set so far.”
Results from the Australian Open on Saturday (x denotes seeding):
Stephane Robert (FRA) bt Martin Klizan (SVK) 6-0, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4
Roger Federer (SUI x6) bt Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS) 6-2, 6-2, 6-3
Simona Halep (ROM x11) bt Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 6-1, 6-4
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x20) bt Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP x16) 6-1, 6-0
Jelena Jankovic (SRB x8) bt Kurumi Nara (JPN) 6-4, 7-5
Maria Sharapova (RUS x3) bt Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-1, 7-6 (8/6)
Sloane Stephens (USA x13) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR) 7-5, 6-4