Australian Open Men’s Day 3:
Roger Federer kept his record against qualifying players all but spotless, dispatching Briton Dan Evans after working hard to claim the first two sets and sailing through the third at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
The 7-6(5), 7-6(3), 6-3 win into the third round kept the 37-year-old Swiss third seed on track for a possible third-straight trophy at Melbourne Park.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion has won the event six times.
The 189th-ranked Evans returned last April to the ATP after serving a one-year ban, the result of testing positive for cocaine.
Against qualifiers, Federer has lost just once at the Grand Slam level while winning 27 times.
His only setback against an outsider came at the start of his career in 2002 in a Wimbledon loss to Mario Ancic in 2002.
Each of the first sets against Evans took an hour; Federer then found the extra gear in his game to sweep through the third and take victory on his eight ace.
“I could’t pull away in the first two sets,” the winner said. “I needed to sneak a quick break, maybe press him a bit more.
“He played well, I did also. Margins are slim. I was happy to win the first set, that was big.”
Federer said his opponent gave him a test: “He was feeling (his game) today, he was very sort of cat and mouse a bit.
“I liked the match. I thought he was playing well. It was enjoyable.”
Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut followed up his five-set win over Andy Murray in the first round by putting out Australian John Millman in another marathon, winning 6-3, 6-1, 3-6. 6-7(6), 6-4.
PIC OF THE DAY: France’s Gael Monfils gets airborne in his second round tie in Melbourne on Wednesday. Photo: Roger Parker
Compatriot Rafael Nadal, the second seed, had it easier as he stopped Aussie Matthew Ebden 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
Nadal’s 57th match win in Melbourne puts him into third place for all-time Melbourne wins, ahead of Stefan Edberg..
Fifth-seeded Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson was ambushed by No. 39 Frances Tiafoe, with the American managing a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 upset win in a shade under three hours.
Anderson was held to just 13 aces and was weighed down by 35 unforced errors against a player he beat three times last season
But sixth seed Marin Cilic, the 2017 finalist, held off a similar upset effort by another young American, beating Mackenzie McDonald 7-5, 6-7(9), 6-4, 6-4
.Pint-sized threat Diego Schwartzman pounded out 56 winners and recovered from 1-4 down in the final set to post a 6-4, 7-5, 3-6, 6-7, 6-4 win over Denis Kudla which took almost four hours.
Lleyton Hewitt’s protege Alex De Minaur spent almost four hours fighting off a fightback from Finnish-boen Swiss Henri Laaksonen, winning 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(7), 4-6, 6-3.
The win pits the 19-year-old who lifted the first title of his career at the weekend in Sydney, into a third-round test against Nadal.
“It was pretty special, the crowd got me through this,” the winner said. “I didn’t want to lose in fifth set.
“I had to compose myself, I tried not to get down on myself and be positive – I fought every ball.”
There were also wins for Tomas Berdych, Grigor Dimirov and Fernando Verdasco.