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Federer makes light of day shift to ease into last eight

By Reuters - Jan 22,2018 - Last updated at Jan 22,2018

Switzerland’s Roger Federer serves against Marton Fucsovics of Hungary during their men’s singles fourth round match on day eight of the Australian Open tournament in Melbourne on Monday (AFP photo by Peter Parks)

MELBOURNE — Roger Federer was a strictly nocturnal beast throughout the first week of the Australian Open but proved just as effective with the sun on his back as he sauntered into the quarter-finals for the 14th time on Monday.

The defending champion did not require his dazzling best against 80th-ranked Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in his first match scheduled during the day session but still emerged a comfortable 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-2 winner.

After his earlier-than-usual finish, the 36-year-old World No. 2 said he might even be able to make the most of a night off and take his wife Mirka out for dinner.

“I was considering sunglasses and a towel for the beach but, no, the only thing is the racket strings are a bit tighter but it’s not crazy hot today,” Federer told former champion Jim Courier in a knockabout post-match chat on court.

“It’s a different rhythm playing in the day and not going to bed at 3am. We might go out for dinner tonight but Mirka has left already — she must have other plans!”

Federer’s light mood matched the sunny conditions and he was even reduced to giggles during one point late in the second set when he miss-hit a forehand high into the air, then defended three consecutive Fucsovics smashes to win a bizarre rally.

“This one was the biggest joke of a point maybe I have ever played,” he said later. “Thankfully it didn’t decide the outcome of that second set. That would have been too much of a joke, to be honest.”

Federer is, yet, to drop a set and did not even face a break point against the 25-year-old Fucsovics, who arrived in Melbourne without a Grand Slam main draw victory to his name.

Yet his unheralded opponent, bidding to become only the third Hungarian man to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final in the professional era, offered an all-round display that belied his record, even if it did not surprise Federer.

“I practiced with him for a few days in a row in Switzerland. That helped, you know, knowing his strength and weaknesses a little bit,” he said.

“He was not completely the unknown opponent that maybe people thought he was.

“He hung with me for a long time. So it was a good match.”

Federer was in cruise control in the first set but struck decisively when Fucsovics served at 4-5, squeezing the throttle enough to earn a set point converted with a smash.

Fucsovics kept Federer honest in the second set and played his part in some entertaining rallies to extend the 19-times Grand Slam champion to a tiebreak.

Federer rifled a running forehand pass to earn three set points and again finished the set at the net, with a smash.


The third set was all over in 31 minutes as Federer raced into the 52nd Grand Slam quarter-final of his career, booking a last eight encounter against 19th seeded Czech Tomas Berdych. 

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Saturday 19 January 2019


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