Australian Open Mens’s Day 5:
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal schooled a pair of young guns with comprehensive third-round wins on Friday to power ahead at the Australian Open.
Federer took advantage of the “home” comforts of the Rod Laver area as the Swiss played his 100th match on the prime-time venue, dispatching Taylor Fritz 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 for a fourth-round place.
Ndal produced a similar effort to peg back Aussie NextGen hope Alex De Minaur 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
Federer’s comfortable victory in 88 minutes puts the 20-time Grand Slam winner in a familiar position as he bids for a third straight title at the first major or the season.
The Swiss owns six trophies here and could notch the 100th of his career should he win the final a week from Sunday; he stands 97-13 at the event.
A service winner handed the 37-year-old two match points, with Fritz driving a forehand long to lose after 88 minutes.
“I wanted to get out of blocks quickly,” Federer said, “I knew he was a threat with his serve.
“Maybe that gave e extra focus today to get a good start. I had a really good feeling out there today.”
Nadal won the fist set against de Minaur, who claimed his first career title last weekend in Sydney and stands as only one of two teens ranked inside the Top 100.
But a break of his opponent in a 15-minute game to begin the second set set the tone for the Spaniard, with Nadal racing ahead at the expense of the home crowd favourite.
It took Nadal six match points to wrap up the evening as De Minaur thrilled his public with a lengthy last stand.
“He’s a big fighter and very quick.” Nadal said of De Minaur. “I think I played a very solid match.
“Even playing against an Aussie, I felt I had a part of this crowd with me.”
“I’m in the fourth round, the good news is that I get to play again.”
Federer, set to play a Melbourne fourth round for the 17th time will next line up against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The fast-rising youngster made more history for Greek tennis, becoming the first man from the Mediterranean nation to reach the round of 16 at a Grand Slam on multiple occasions.
The 14th seed secured that honour by defeating Georgian Nicolaz Basilashvili 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 and will now face Federer after losing to the Swiss a fortnight ago at the Hopman Cup.
Tsitsipas is breaking new ground after achieving his best at a major as he plays his seventh Slam.
Former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych stretched his comeback run after missing half of last season through injury, defeating Argentine Diego Schwartzman in a 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 comeback which took three hours.
Grigor Dimitrov moved ahead at the expense of Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4.
With Andre Agassi in his coaching corner for the event, Dimitrov is growing in confidence after a disaster of a 2018 season, where he barely hung onto a Top 20 ranking.
“It was a great day. I’m happy. Oveall a great, great match. Conditions were pretty good to play tennis.
“I was just trying to lock myself in and just play a good match. I didn’t try to force anything. I just kind of let the games roll by a little bit more.”
The three moveable roofs on Melbourne Park show courts came into play in the early afternoon when rain forced a delay in play on uncovered outside courts before the weather cleared up later.