Vintage Federer takes out Tsonga; Books Murray quarter final

Roger Federer has set a quarter-final showdown with Andy Murray at the Australian Open after a straight-sets win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Melbourne Park.

Generating additional power with his larger racquet, Federer's aggressive game plan took him to a 6-3, 7-5 6-4 win. In a vintage performance the 17-time Grand Slam champion clipped 21 winners in the second set alone, closing it out with an ace. Federer, who improved to 10-4 in career Head 2 Head meetings with Tsonga, faced (and saved) just one break point in the match.

"I thought I played really well tonight," Federer said in his on-court interview. "Against Jo-Willie you've gotta bring your best game because he dictates play a lot. I thought I did a good job myself dictating a lot of the play tonight. It helped that I played well in the first three matches to come in and play a solid match tonight."

Federer, who won 34 of 41 net approaches, said that his game plan was to be aggressive and come in. "Jo makes you play an aggressive game yourself because if you don't he will come in and it's tough to pass time and time again. I thought the tactics worked well tonight."

In a very clean performance, Federer hit 43 winners to 21 unforced errors.

Tsonga said simply that he was beaten by a better player on the day. "He was playing unbelievable. I was not good enough to destabilise him," the 2008 Australian Open finalist said. "I played good tennis, but maybe I didn't serve well enough. Everything in my game was there. I was pretty strong on the baseline.  But he took the ball very early today, and he was always taking time away from me."

Monday's win provides Federer with a massive confidence boost as he looks to rebuild from a lean 2013 season - when he won just one title (Halle) - and as he debuts a larger 98” racquet. The five-time year-end World No. 1 had won just three of his past 13 matches against Top 10 opponents before toppling Tsonga.

Federer picked apart his opponent's serve twice in an opening set boasting 14 points won from 17 rushes to the net, and sealed it when Tsonga pushed a lob into the tramlines.

The Frenchman battled to keep the match on serve in the second set but it all came unstuck at 5-5.

He saved a break point with an ace, but Federer raised a second with a sliced backhand that the net cord dropped unkindly onto the Frenchman's side.

Sealing the set with an ace, Federer then ensured there would be no repeat of the marathon five-setter he needed to knock out Tsonga at last year's quarter-finals.

Trailing 4-2 in the third set with three break-points against him, an exasperated Tsonga howled in frustration, earning a warning for bashing a ball into the night sky.

He saved them all to close out the game and slammed his racket into his chair in a bid to pump himself up.

But in the following game, the Frenchman dumped his sole break point chance into the net allowing Federer to march on, and serve out the final game to love.

Federer is now one win away from his 11th consecutive Australian Open semi-final, but standing in his way is fourth seed Murray, against whom the Swiss trails 9-11 in Head 2 Head meetings, but Federer is 3-1 up in matches at grand slams. It will be their first meeting since Murray triumphed in a five-set semi-final at Melbourne Park last year.

Four-time Melbourne champion Federer, who has not dropped a set through his first four matches, has now reached 41 major quarter-finals, tying the all-time record with Jimmy Connors.

Federer is playing in a record 57th consecutive Grand Slam tournament and 59th overall. Federer this month added two-time former Australian Open champion Stefan Edberg to his coaching staff.

Federer added: "Andy's done great to reach the quarter-finals so soon after surgery and let's hope his fitness holds out because we always have great matches and I'm really looking forward to it."

On the Federer showdown, Murray added: "It's a big match for me. It's the quarter-finals of a slam. Roger's played great tennis here in the past. It will be a very tough match for me."

Date: 20th January 2014, Source: ATP and Reuters


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