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Australian Open 2018: Federer sweeps past Gasquet to reach round four

21 January 2018

DEFENDING champion Roger Federer continued his dominance over Richard Gasquet to reach the round of 16 at the Australian Open on Saturday and keep his quest for a 20th grand slam title on track.

The crowd on the Rod Laver Arena were treated to some pleasing exchanges, as Federer and Gasquet traded their eloquent single-handed backhands for an hour and 59 minutes. "He has one of the best one-handed backhanders in the game, so I love playing the guy, he has great variation and moves to net, and he's a little old school and we've had some good matches over the years", Federer said.

"I'm coming in this year well-equipped, fully fit, I know that five sets is not an issue this year, while last year that was a bit of a question mark".

With the set then going to serve and Federer trailing 5-6, he made a statement with three booming aces to rack up 17 for the match and force the tiebreak. I could have gone on for a lot longer, but I could tell [John] McEnroe gave me the look, wrap it up.

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Federer will now play France's Richard Gasquet, who has won 14 singles titles throughout his career, in the third round.

Federer has unheralded Hungarian and one-time training partner Marton Fucsovics up next and a potential quarter-final with Tomas Berdych, who upset Juan Martin del Porto in straight sets earlier on Saturday.

"Maybe. Maybe not", Federer replied.

There were flashes of brilliance from Gasquet, particularly on his famed single-handed backhand, but he could not get a hold on the Federer serve and the Swiss emerged a 6-2 7-5 6-4 victor.

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Dominant in the first set, the going only got tougher from there for Federer. A whipped forehand brought up break point and, after relentless pressure, a long forehand saw the Swiss take a two-set lead.

Struff saved a match point with a searing backhand down the line but fell on the second when Federer crunched a huge serve into the corner.

With his second attempt, the Swiss hit an ace which Gasquet wanted to challenge, however the Hawkeye system had temporarily crashed.

"Just the back being fine again", Federer said after beating Gasquet.

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He broke Federer in his second service game through some uncharacteristic errors.