Roger Federer beat long-time Belgian opponent Xavier Malisse 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 in a battle for old time’s sake and broke the all-time record for men’s match victories at the Australian Open in the process on Friday.
The defending champion bidding for his fifth career title at Melbourne Park, notched his 57th win, which puts him one ahead of Swede Stefan Edberg, an idol of the younger Federer.
Federer won 10 games in a row from 3-1 down in the second set as he moved into the fourth round in 1 hour 45 minutes over the 30-year-old Malisse.
“I thought today was intense, the first two sets almost didn’t reflect how tough it could have been,” said Federer. “Or how tough it was. “Maybe I broke his will a little bit because he was up 3-1 in the second, then I was able to come back and win 10 straight games, which was obviously a great run.” He will next play Tommy Robredo after the Spaniard defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.
Djokovic, Roddick sail
It was a quick, 39-minute day for Novak Djokovic, who advanced when Davis Cup teammate Viktor Troicki retired trailing 6-2, with a stomach muscle injury.
“After the match he told me that he could not make a full movement of the serve that he usually does,” said Djokovic. “He obviously tried his best.”
Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych ended the hopes of Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2, while American Andy Roddick needed a fightback to overcome injured (ankle) Dutchman Robin Haase 2-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-2, 6-2.
“Once I was able to get the momentum on my side, I think he was thinking about each shot a little bit more instead of kind of free-wheeling,” said Roddick of his upset escape. “But that’s what it takes some days. I was able to keep in the match just by serving really well.”
Henin crashes out
Women’s top-seed Caroline Wozniacki booked a 6-3, 6-4 win over Dominika Cibulkova. Sixth-seeded Francesca Schiavone beat Romanian Monica Niculescu 6-0, 7-6 (7-2), number eight Victoria Azarenka beat South African Chanelle Scheepers 6-3, 6-3 and China’s ninth seed Li Na, dispatched Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-2, 6-1.
Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova downed injured seven-time winner Justine Henin 6-4, 7-6 (10-8), with the Belgian admitting that the elbow injury, which kept her out of the game for six months until early January is still not right.
“I was aggressive, and I served better, I dictated most of the time,” said Kuznetsova. “I was not scared at all when I went to the match; I just wanted to play my game and try to play with my best against her worst.” Ex-champion Maria Sharapova rallied to defeat determined German Julia Goerges 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Keywords: Australian Open