image

Roger Federer reached the last 16 at the Australian Open after proving too strong for Grigor Dimitrov in their highly-anticipated third-round match.

The Swiss third seed won 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-4 under the Rod Laver Arena roof as rain halted play on the outside courts.

It brought four-time champion Federer his 300th Grand Slam match win.

ADVERTISEMENT

Former champion Maria Sharapova was able to progress, with top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams featuring in the night session at Melbourne Park.

Sharapova needed three sets to beat unseeded American Lauren Davis, the Russian fifth seed dominating the latter stages to win 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-0.

Switzerland’s seventh seed Belinda Bencic beat Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine 4-6 6-2 6-4, while men’s seventh seed Kei Nishikori saw off Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-5 2-6 6-3 6-4 despite requiring treatment on his wrist.

“It was a little bit sore in the beginning, but after the treatment it was fine,” said the Japanese player.

French ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won in three tight sets against compatriot Pierre-Hugues Herbert, triumphing 6-4 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-4).

Kei Nishikori
Nishikori played down concerns about the wrist that has troubled him in the past
Federer finds his clinical edge

The 34-year-old Swiss had won a tight battle against Dimitrov in Brisbane in the build-up to the Australian Open, but was a more comfortable winner on the bigger Grand Slam stage.

Both men displayed the elegant shot-making for which they are known, but had Federer been more effective on break points in the second set, he might have won it in three sets.

Federer failed to recover an early deficit in the second set and had converted only one of eight break points going into the third, only to step on the gas and leave Dimitrov in his wake.

“Grigor was playing well and I thought I was struggling a little bit,” said Federer, who plays Belgian David Goffin in round four.

“It was an important start to the third set. Thankfully I got the early break and was able to stay in the lead.”

Federer closing on another record
Martina Navratilova holds the record for Grand Slam wins with 306 over 19 years – Federer will move to 304 if he takes the title in Melbourne
Sharapova breaks new ground

It took two hours and 14 minutes for five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova to see off Davis, the world number 103, and claim the 600th victory of her 15-year career.

“Wow. I’ve won 600 matches?” said the 28-year-old. “Is this like a friendly reminder that I’m getting old? Might be.”

Maria Sharapova
Sharapova was presented with a cake by tournament director Craig Tiley after her 600th singles win
Sharapova next faces a tough test against 18-year-old Bencic, with the winner earning a potential quarter-final against Williams.

Bencic, coached by Melanie Molitor, mother of Martina Hingis, has won her last 15 three-set matches dating back to the 2015 French Open.

“That’s good,” said the Swiss. “Because I was losing a lot, and then my dad and my coach were like, ‘You don’t have any fitness.’ I don’t know if it’s only fitness, it’s more the focus and confidence.”