Federer to face del Potro in blockbuster QF clash

Four-time former Australian Open champion Roger Federer set a blockbuster quarter-final clash with Juan Martin del Potro after ending Australian teenager Bernard Tomic’s campaign with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win at Melbourne Park on Saturday night.

Federer and del Potro clashed in the Australian Open quarter-finals three years ago, when Federer dealt the Argentine his worst Grand Slam defeat with a 6-3, 6-0, 6-0 victory. Later that same year, though, del Potro edged Federer in a five-set epic in the US Open final.

"I think it's going to be a good match," said Federer. "Look, I think he's coming back awfully strong again. Injury came and things obviously changed, and now he's had to have a great year to get back in the Top 15, and now he's making his move to the Top 10. I think it's going to be a tough one. He really came through convincingly in the last two especially. We know the firepower."

The 30-year-old Federer advanced to the quarter-finals in Melbourne for the ninth straight year as he hit 45 winners to just 13 from Tomic, and broke serve six times from 10 opportunities. The last time Federer failed to reach the last eight of a major championship was at 2004 Roland Garros, when he lost to Gustavo Kuerten in the third round.

"I figured he was going to play a bit aggressive, that it was going to be a tough match, which it was, I thought," said Federer. "Maybe the score suggested differently, but I thought we had a lot of long games, tough points, and I thought he did actually really well."

The Swiss triumphed in Melbourne in 2004 (d. Safin), 2006 (d. Baghdatis), 2007 (d. Gonzalez) and 2010 (d. Murray). He also finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal in the 2009 final. He is bidding to win his 17th major title, and first since lifting the Australian Open crown in 2010.

Former World No. 4 Potro advanced to his first Grand Slam quarter-final since the 2009 US Open when he dismissed Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-2, 6-1. "I can say I'm very happy to be in quarters," said del Potro. "It's amazing for me to play another quarter-final at a Grand Slam after three years, so it's good signal for my comeback.

"Roger is the best tennis player in history, and of course he's the favourite," added del Potro. "I remember three years ago I played in the quarters against him and I only won three games. So if this time is something different and I win more games is going to be okay for me."

Date: 22.01.2012, Source: ATP


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