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Federer wins 10th Basel title

Roger Federer won his 10th Swiss Indoors Basel title, defeating Alex De Minaur 6-2, 6-2 to secure what the Swiss legend described as "an unbelievable" success at the home-town tournament.

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Federer to play 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Roger Federer will go for gold in 2020. The Swiss star confirmed that he will compete for Switzerland at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

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Federer wins 10th Halle title

Roger Federer made history in Halle, defeating David Goffin 7-6 (2), 6-1 to win a record 10th Noventi Open title. It is the first time that Federer has earned 10 crowns at one tournament.

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Federer wins fourth Miami Open title

Roger Federer produced a championship masterclass under the Florida sun, dominating reigning champ John Isner 6-1, 6-4 to win his fourth Miami title.

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Federer makes history in Dubai, wins 100th title

Roger Federer made history at the Dubai Duty Free Championships, defeating reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 to win his 100th tour-level title.

Federer: "The magnitude of this match feels different"

The talk of history could wait for Roger Federer. Hours after the Swiss had won his 18th Grand Slam title, padding his own record, the 35 year old wasn't interested in discussing what it meant to add another victory to his historic tally and increase the distance between he and Rafael Nadal and Pete Sampras, both of whom have 14 Grand Slam crowns.

Instead, Federer was more interested in talking about what had just happened on Rod Laver Arena. “For me it's all about the comeback, about an epic match with Rafa again. Doing it here in Australia, that I'm so thankful to Peter Carter and Tony Roche, and others. My popularity here, their support, that I can still do it at my age after not having won a slam for almost five years. That's what I see,” Federer said.

“The last problem is the slam count. Honestly, it doesn't matter.

“It remains for me the ultimate challenge to play against Rafa. It's super sweet, because I haven't beaten him a Grand Slam final for a long time now. This one means a lot to me because he caused me problems over the years.”

It was a match cherished by all Federer fans, no doubt, but by all tennis fans as well: Two of the all-time greats battling for more than three and a half hours for the Australian Open title, the first Grand Slam of the season. Last November, the two were in the same position as well, except resting. Federer sat in Switzerland, rehabbing his left knee. Nadal was in Spain, undergoing the same delicate process for his left wrist.

For both men, it had also been years since they had last played for a Grand Slam title: Federer, 2012 Wimbledon, which he won; and Nadal, 2014 Roland Garros, which he captured as well. The wait made the win that much more meaningful for Federer.

“The magnitude of this match is going to feel different. I can't compare this one to any other one except for maybe 2009 Roland Garros,” said Federer, who won the Paris title after three consecutive runner-up finishes in 2006-08. “I waited for the French Open, I tried, I fought. I tried again and failed. Eventually I made it. This feels similar.”

The Melbourne title was also Federer's first Grand Slam title with coach Ivan Ljubicic. “It's obviously special for the entire team. It was Ivan's first Grand Slam final as a player or as a coach. Obviously he was nervous all day. I tried to calm him down,” Federer said, smiling. “The same thing with my physio, too. I think I can sense that this is not something that he's seen so many times. Whereas Severin, he was totally relaxed about it.

“It's beautiful for all of us. I know how happy they are because they are more than just a coach or a physio or whatever. They're all my friends. So we spent a lot of time talking about am I going to get back to 100 per cent, and if I did, what would it require to win a Grand Slam. Now we made it. We're going to be partying like rock stars tonight. I can tell you that.”

The team all contributed to the win, too, Federer's 18th and one of his most memorable yet. “I told myself to play free. That's what we discussed with Ivan and Severin before the matches. You play the ball, you don't play the opponent. Be free in your head, be free in your shots, go for it. The brave will be rewarded here. I didn't want to go down just making shots, seeing forehands rain down on me from Rafa. I think it was the right decision at the right time,” Federer said. “I had opportunities early on in the fifth, as well, to get back on even terms. I could have been left disappointed there and accepted that fact. I kept on fighting. I kept on believing, like I did all match long today, that there was a possibility I could win this match.”

Date: 29 January 2017, Source: ATP

Federer beats Nadal to win 18th Grand Slam

He’s been a man on a mission in Melbourne the past two weeks and the dream came true for Roger Federer on Sunday evening as he toppled his great rival, Rafael Nadal, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the Australian Open final to win his 18th Grand Slam championship.

“I’m out of words,” said Federer, after receiving the trophy from Rod Laver. “I'd like to congratulate Rafa on an amazing comeback. There are no draws in tennis, but I would have been very happy to accept one and share it with Rafa tonight. The comeback had been perfect as it was,” said the Swiss, who was playing his first tour-level event after a six-month injury lay-off.

All out aggression from Federer proved decisive as he defeated Nadal in a Grand Slam final for just the third time in nine contests. He had lost all three previous battles with the Spaniard at Melbourne Park - including a heartbreaker in the 2009 final - and had not beaten Nadal in a major since 2007. But Federer righted those wrongs with a sublime display, marking his 100th match at the Australian Open in style.

It was an iconic contest and it deserved five sets as Federer prevailed in three hours and 37 minutes in an electric atmosphere on Rod Laver Arena, rallying from a break down in the fifth set to win the last five games. The tears of joy flowed freely for Federer as the electronic review ruled his forehand winner on match point to have caught the line.

It is Federer’s first major title in almost five years, since defeating Andy Murray in the 2012 Wimbledon final. Since then, the Swiss has been forced to watch Novak Djokovic largely dominate the Grand Slams, losing to the Serbian in the 2014 Wimbledon title match and in 2015 in the Wimbledon and US Open finals.

It was remarkable feat for Federer and Nadal to meet across the net in another Grand Slam final  and their 35th battle overall. After their semi-final wins - five-setters against Stan Wawrinka and Grigor Dimitrov respectively - they both told the story of being too hobbled to play an exhibition match at the opening of Nadal’s academy in Manacor in October, making do instead with sponge balls against junior players.

But sheer will and hard work saw them both find their best level and rise to the occasion in Melbourne, taking advantage of shock week one defeats for Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray - to Denis Istomin and Mischa Zverev - to bring about a nostalgic final for tennis enthusiasts.

Indeed, it was only the fifth occasion in the Open Era that a Grand Slam final has been contested by a pair of 30-somethings. The last time it happened was at the 2002 US Open, when 31-year-old Pete Sampras defeated 32-year-old Andre Agassi to win the title in what would be his final ever match.

At 35 years and 174 days, Federer is the oldest Grand Slam champion since Ken Rosewall, who won three major titles in 1970 and ’71 after celebrating his 35th birthday. But it must have seemed a long way off for the Basel native last July, when he was forced to announce that he would be missing the remainder of the 2016 season in order to fully repair his body after undergoing arthroscopic left knee surgery in February.

With wins over Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori and Wawrinka to reach the final, Federer is the second player - after Mats Wilander at 1982 Roland Garros - to win four Top 10 matches en route to a Grand Slam title in the ATP Rankings Era (since 1973). He is also the first player to win three five-setters en route to a Grand Slam title since Gaston Gaudio at Roland Garros 2004.

He is the third man in history to win five Australian Open titles, adding to his victories in 2004 (d. Safin), 2006 (d. Baghdatis), 2007 (d. Gonzalez) and 2010 (d. Murray). At No. 17 in the ATP Rankings, he is the lowest ranked Australian Open champion since No. 18 Thomas Johansson won the title in 2002.

But the Swiss right-hander, who spent 302 weeks atop the rankings, is now set to return to the Top 10 at No. 10 on Monday. The Swiss superstar now 18-10 in major finals.

For Nadal, he has come a long way from crying in the car on the way back to the hotel after injury forced him out of Roland Garros before he could step on court for his third-round match. He would later call on his 2016 campaign after a second-round defeat in Shanghai in October, not able to continue any more with his wrist the way it was.

The Spanish left-hander is now set to rise to No. 6 in the ATP Rankings after returning to his best to reach his 21st Grand Slam final (14-7 record).

“Congratulations to Roger and his team. Its just amazing, the way he's playing after such a long time without being on the tour,” Nadal said of Federer. “It's very difficult to make that happen. Well done, I feel very happy for you.”

Federer hit 73 winners, including 20 aces, and won 76 per cent of his first service points. Nadal, who went 4/17 in break points won, committed 28 unforced errors - 29 fewer than Federer. The Swiss is now 12-23 in their ATP Head to Head series.

Match Report:

First Set: The hyperbole surrounding a final between these two all-time greats did not appear to affect Nadal or Federer in the opening exchanges of their 35th meeting - and fourth on Melbourne soil. Predictably, each player centred their tactics on targeting backhand wings and opening up the court - yet through the first six games there were two love holds. The battle for baseline dominance reached fever pitch at 3-3, when Nadal failed to consistently hit his first serves into court and Federer seized the initiative courtesy of a forehand drive volley for two break points. The pressure mounted on Nadal, the longer the rally went on at 15/40. Ultimately, he struck a crosscourt backhand wide. The Rod Laver Arena, largely pro-Federer, erupted at the first service break of a high-quality opening. Federer consolidated the break with a love hold for a 5-3 advantage and later hit two aces to secure the 34-minute set.

Second Set: The level of play ratcheted up with Nadal winning six of the first seven points. Federer was drawn to the net by Nadal, whose groundstroke depth rushed the Swiss into error. Nadal earned his first service break when Federer mis-hit a forehand for a 2-0 lead, prior to a testing third game. Nadal led 30/0, but lost the next three points and was forced to save two break points as terrific athleticism and elasticity by 35-year-old Federer belied his age. Trailing 0-4, Federer loosened up and Nadal’s relentless groundstroke length faltered, momentarily. At 30/40, Nadal went all-out on a forehand down the line, but Federer was able to flick a forehand back and into an open court to break. Nadal held his nerve and with two straight love holds, he clinched the set when when Federer struck a forehand long.

Third Set: Federer got out of jail in the first game. Having led 40/0, Nadal won five straight points but was ultimately unable to convert three break point opportunities - as Federer struck an ace each time. Having edged through, Federer seized the momentum by breaking Nadal for a 2-0 lead. A sublime backhand half volley down the line at 30/30 did the damage, followed by a deep backhand return that Nadal attempted to run around to hit a forehand into an open court. The Spaniard ran out of time and the pressure further mounted when Federer went on to hold to love for 3-0. At this stage, Federer was zoning on his backhand, quick in his movement to his forehand, and was not allowing Nadal time to recover with a number of drive volley winners. Nadal continued to battle and came through a nine-minute game for 1-3, saving three break points, but emotion, frustration got the better of him and two games later he was broken to 30. Federer then saved two break points to complete a remarkable turnaround, after overcoming the pressure of the opening game, with a backhand drop volley winner. For the first time in his ninth Grand Slam final against Nadal, he led two sets to one.

Fourth Set: One mental lapse on an easy forehand at the start of the fourth game cost Federer dear, as Nadal soon wrestled away the momentum. At 15/40, Federer was drawn to the net to retrieve a low backhand but stretched and volleyed into the net. Nadal’s mental strength was undimmed a game later, when he produced a tremendous flicked crosscourt forehand winner - at full stretch - off a fine Federer backhand crosscourt angle for a 4-1 advantage. At the change of ends, Federer applauded after watching the big screen replay. Federer held for 3-5, forcing Nadal to close out the 40-minute set - which he did courtesy of a Federer backhand into the net. Nadal went into the decider knowing he’d won three of their previous five five-setters.

Fifth Set: Federer returned after an off-court medical time out to serve first in the decider. The time lapse provided respite, but not for the Swiss who lost the first two points. Under pressure, Federer went after Nadal’s backhand and saved one break point, but a forehand error at 30/40 gifted Nadal the break. Nadal then saved three break points for a big hold that got his coach, Uncle Toni, out of his seat. But Federer, who received on-court treatment on his right thigh at the 1-2 change of ends, wasn’t finished. Federer kept applying the pressure, playing as close to the baseline as he could, and in the next game forced Nadal to rip a backhand crosscourt winner at break point. Although Nadal maintained his break advantage for a 3-1 lead, the match could turn on its head with a moment of brilliance. It did in the sixth game, with Federer levelling the score at 3-3 on his second break point chance when Nadal struck an in-out forehand wide. Nadal showcased terrific mental fortitude at 3-4 when he recovered from 0/40 and saved four break points, but Federer was relentlessly aggressive and controlled the baseline. At the fifth time of asking, the Swiss broke when Nadal was drawn out wide to hit a forehand into the net. With new balls, and some nerves, Federer went on to save two break points and close out his 100th match at Melbourne Park for an emotional - and memorable - 18th Grand Slam championship crown.

Date: 29 January 2017, Source: ATP

Federer beats Wawrinka in five sets to reach sixth Australian Open final

Roger Federer will attempt to win his 18th Grand Slam championship crown against his old foe Rafael Nadal or Grigor Dimitrov on Sunday after a battling performance in the Australian Open semi-finals.

The 35-year-old Swiss superstar, who recently returned to top-level tennis after a six-month injury lay-off, booked a spot in his 28th Grand Slam final with a 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3 victory over his compatriot Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 titlist and fourth seed. Federer will now compete for his fifth crown in his sixth Australian Open final on Sunday night, when he will attempt to become the first No. 17 seed to win a major since Pete Sampras won the final professional match of his career at the 2002 US Open.

“I will leave it all out here in Australia and if I can't walk for another five months, that's OK,” said Federer about his sixth Australian Open final on Sunday.

Federer, who is now 86-13 at the Australian Open, would take a 5-0 advantage over No. 15 seed Dimitrov into his 28th Grand Slam championship final (17-10 record). But he trails 14-time major winner and 2009 champion Nadal 11-23 in their ATP Head to Head series. Dimitrov and Nadal contest their semi-final on Friday night.

“I know I will have a chance to win on Sunday now,” said Federer. “That's a great position to be in. Regardless of who it's going to be against, I think it's going to be special either way. One is going to go for his first Slam or it's the epic battle with Rafa. All I care about is that I can win on Sunday. It doesn't matter who's across the net. But I understand the magnitude of the match against Nadal, no doubt about it.”

Federer will re-enter the Top 10 in the ATP Rankings at No. 10 should he lift the trophy on Sunday. He is looking to become the second oldest player in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam crown after Australian’s Ken Rosewall, who won 3 Grand Slam titles after turning 35. Rosewall won the 1970 US Open (aged 35 years, 315 days) and the Australian Open in 1971 (36 years, 73 days) and 1972 (37 years, 62 days). Rosewall was 39 when he reached the 1974 US Open final.

“We don't speak about Ken Rosewall enough. I think he's a wonderful man. He wrote me a letter again this week to wish me well again. He does it every year at the Australian Open,” Federer said. “I know he's a few years older, but I know he had a tremendous career. So to be in the same breath like these guys, it's a great feeling. I love these guys. It means a lot to me to have equalled something like this since a long time.”

Federer has not reached a major final since September 2015 at the US Open (l. to Djokovic) and not won a major title since July 2012 at Wimbledon (d. Murray).

Federer defeated three Top 10 players to reach a Grand Slam final for the first time and it is just the second time he has won two five-set matches before the final, as he did en route to his French Open triumph in 2009.

Federer's low expectations coming into the Australian Open - he eyed the quarter-finals - helped propel him past Wawrinka in the fifth set.

“I was talking to myself, saying like, 'Just relax, man. The comeback is so great already. Let it fly off your racquet and just see what happens,'” Federer said. “I think that's the mindset I got to have, as well, in the finals. Sort of a nothing-to-lose mentality. It's been nice these last six matches to have that mentality. It worked very well so I'll keep that up.”

Wawrinka called Federer “the best player ever” and said Federer “can do anything he wants on the court.” “He's an amazing player to watch and to see on the court. He's flying on the court. He's playing amazing tennis.

“I'm proud of myself, of the fight I gave tonight and all the tournament. I think there is a lot of positives from this tournament, from Brisbane, from this month already. I'm really sad and disappointed with a loss like this. I had a great battle against Roger. He's a great fighter. He's always been amazing in Grand Slams, in five-set matches. But I know there is a lot of positives,” said Wawrinka.

Federer applied early pressure, forcing Wawrinka to recover from 0/40 on serve at 1-2. Although Federer came through his own test, from 15/40 in the next game, he did do a good job of keeping Wawrinka off-balance by varying the direction of his groundstrokes. Federer survived a break point at 5-5, 30/40 and was soon gifted two straight errors from Wawrinka to take the 50-minute opener.

In the second set, Wawrinka went into meltdown at 2-3 when two errors saw his serve get broken – as well as a racquet - to give Federer full control of their 22nd meeting. Although Wawrinka continued to battle, he left the court close to tears at the end of the second set. The 31 year old would now need to come back from an 0-2 sets deficit for the seventh time in his career.

With strapping just below his right knee, following an off-court medical time-out, Wawrinka took his first tentative steps. Initially slow to move off his right leg, he grew in confidence and broke Federer’s serve with a forehand winner for a 3-1 advantage. Federer’s intensity dropped and two more breaks soon followed for Wawrinka. In a run of six games, Wawrinka led 1-0 in the fourth set.

Although Federer broke back immediately for 1-1, fast forward to 4-4 and he was in big trouble at 0/40. Federer saved two break points with well-directed serves, but terrific movement from Wawrinka at 30/40 enabled him to flick a forehand crosscourt winner to break. The capacity crowd, including the great Rod Laver, were left stunned as the match went to a fifth and deciding set. Federer took the time to leave the court for treatment.

“I felt tightness in my leg throughout the match, and I felt like it slowed me down,” said Federer. “I just hoped that maybe having the physio work on it, that it would make me feel better. But it didn't. It's not something I'm necessarily really worried about in any way. So that's a good thing.”

Wawrinka narrowly missed a forehand down the line at 1-1, 30/40, with Federer in a perilous position at the net. Wawrinka then recovered from 0/30 in the next game, before missing another break point at 2-2. When Wawrinka struck a mid-court backhand long at 2-3, 15/30, the match turned in Federer’s favour. Federer was not to be denied and, having closed out the match to love, he will now play his 100th match at the Australian Open against Nadal or Dimitrov in Sunday's final.

Federer, who is now 19-3 lifetime against Wawrinka (and a winner in all of their hard-court meetings), hit 47 winners, including 11 aces. He also converted four of his nine break point opportunities for victory in three hours and four minutes. Wawrinka, who saw his 12-match winning streak at Grand Slams come to an end, went 4/12 on break points, but went 56/86 on first serve points in comparison to 62/86 for Federer.

Date: 26 January 2017, Source: ATP and AP

Federer to play Wawrinka at Australian Open semi-final

Four-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer is back in the semifinals for the 13th time in his career, setting up an all-Swiss showdown with No.4 seed and 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka after racing past Germany’s Mischa Zverev 6-1, 7-5, 6-2.

“Feeling as good as I am, playing as good as I am, that's a huge surprise to me,” said Federer.

“I'm pleased with the way I started the match,” said Federer. “Right away, again, I got off to a great start against him, as I did against him a few years ago. After that, naturally everything's easier. The second set was definitely a key to shut it down for him. It was good that I was able to break back after he played a good game there. Then in the third set, I think, I was rolling. It was a nice match. I think I played great. Mischa had a wonderful tournament, so well done to him.”

The 35-year-old Federer leads Wawrinka, the fourth seed, 18-3 in their ATP Head to Head series. Pete Sampras, who won the final match of his career in the 2002 US Open final, was the last No. 17 seed to capture a major title.

“If someone would have told me I'd play in the semis against Stan, never would I have called that," said Federer, who returned from a six-month injury lay-off at the start of 2017. “For Stan, yes, but not for me. I honestly didn't even know a few days ago that he was in my section of the draw or I'm in his section. I figured it out eventually that he was playing on my days, but I never really looked in that quarter of the draw because that was just too unrealistic for me.

“To play against Stan I have to play aggressive, the more time I give him the better he is. I'm happy he's got this far but he doesn't need to go a step further - Stan knows I'm joking.”

Federer took advantage of early nerves for 29-year-old Zverev by winning the first five games - and losing seven points. The first set lasted 20 minutes.

World No. 50 Zverev regrouped and covered the net to keep Federer on the back foot, but, ultimately, was left to rue a missed volley that could have edged him closer to a 4-1 lead. The doubts started to set in and Federer sensed his opportunity, fighting back to break to love for a 6-5 lead.

Zverev kept battling, but his resistance faltered in the fifth game and a 26-point seventh game of the third set. Federer hit 65 winners overall, committing just 13 unforced errors in the one-hour and 32-minute encounter.

“I think he did not really let me play,” said Zverev. “It's more like his shots were a little bit different than Andy Murray. It was definitely hard to read where he was going, where he's returning. He just has so many more options. How he can, like, outplay me or pass me. It was different, definitely different.”

Federer is the oldest men's singles semi-finalist at the tournament since Arthur Ashe in 1978, and the oldest at any Grand Slam since Jimmy Connors reached the 1991 US Open last four aged 39. He is now 85-13 at the Australian Open - the most match wins he has amassed at any of the four majors.

Wawrinka beat French No. 12 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets earlier in the day.

“Against Roger, it's always special because he's so good. He's the best player of all time,” said the three-time Grand Slam winner.

“He has an answer for everything. But I managed to beat him in a Grand Slam, so we'll see.

“It's great to see him back at that level. Hopefully I can manage to play a great match.”

Date: 24 January 2017, Source: ATP and BBC

Federer outlasts Nishikori in five sets for QF berth

Roger Federer dug in his heels to stop Kei Nishikori on Sunday at the Australian Open, rallying past the fifth seed 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in three hours and 23 minutes. Federer secured a milestone 200th win over a Top 10 opponent, becoming the first active player to achieve the feat.

"It's great," Federer said following his victory over Nishikori. "I didn't know it going in. I just know I played a lot of tennis. I ran a lot. Obviously I want to play really well against the best players. I was able to do that sometimes, but tonight was special, no doubt about it. Going five against Kei here on Rod Laver Arena with the comeback, it's definitely very special. A fitting way to celebrate that milestone."

"He played his heart out and I thought he played a great match, I'm happy to be a part of it," said Federer. "He was hanging tough and playing really well on the big points. I was telling myself to stay calm and this is what I trained for in the offseason. This is a big moment for me in my career."

The four-time champion exhibited great resolve in fighting back for his 25th career five-set victory. He will feature in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park for the 13th time in the last 14 years, with a date against Mischa Zverev awaiting on Tuesday. Federer won their previous two ATP Head to Head encounters, most recently on the grass of Halle in 2013.

Federer fired a staggering 83 winners, including 24 aces, while converting seven of 18 break chances. But it wasn't all smooth sailing for the 17th seed. Striking the ball with conviction and peppering the Federer backhand early and often, Nishikori burst out of the gates, breaking twice in a row for a 5-1 first-set lead. The Japanese was more aggressive in the initial stages, jumping on Federer's second serve and crashing the net frequently.

But the Swiss stayed the course, slowly chipping away at Nishikori's lead and eventually drawing level at 5-all. Nishikori would take the opener in a tie-break, but momentum had swung firmly in his opponent's corner. Federer streaked to a two-sets-to-one lead and later snatched a quick break for 2-0 in the decider, after Nishikori sent the match the distance. He would emerge victorious on his first match point with an emphatic overhead smash.

"I didn't expect him to play this well from the start and that put me on the back foot for the remainder of the match to some extent," added Federer. "But I was able to wrestle it back in my favour. I got myself into the match and started to play the good sets that I knew I could. The question was could I hang with Kei until the very end. I was able to do that, so I'm super happy.

"You have a game plan and he's got a game plan. Sometimes it doesn't match up the right way for you. He was quick out of the blocks. I was accepting it and moving on with it, trying to at least find some sort of a rhythm going into the second set. I was still upbeat about my chances after that first set. I think it gave me something coming back into that set actually."

Federer improved to 5-2 against Nishikori in their ATP Head to Head series, meeting for the first time since the Swiss prevailed in their group stage match at the 2015 ATP Finals. The Japanese saw his three-match win streak in five-setters snapped, falling to 14-6 in his career.

"I'm really disappointed to lose like this, especially after I started really well," said Nishikori, who exited in the Aussie Open fourth round for the third time in five years. "I missed some chances from 5-2 in the first set and I think I let him come back. He was playing good tennis especially in the middle, the second and third sets. I maybe had some chances in fifth set to come back in the match, but he was way too strong."

Date: 22 January 2017, Source: ATP

Federer floors Berdych in 90 minutes at Australian Open

Swiss marvel Roger Federer blitzed long-time rival Tomas Berdych in straight sets to storm into the fourth round with a vintage performance at the Australian Open on Friday.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion, seeded 17th after an injury-hit 2016, downed the 10th-seeded Czech 6-2, 6-4, 6-4, in just 90 minutes.

Federer reached the round of 16 in Melbourne for the 15th time where he will face Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori.

"From the baseline, honestly I felt worlds better than in the first couple of rounds. Yeah, it's wonderful. I'm really happy of course," Federer said.

"I'm sure I've done some sort of a performance like this before. When you don't get broken, you don't have to save any break points, you're always in the lead, it's always easier to play."

Any concerns that Federer might be in for a tough night evaporated with a double service break to lead Berdych 5-2 in the opening set.

The Swiss maestro continued to put on a tennis masterclass to leave the big Czech floundering.

Federer breezed through the opening set in 26 minutes, made it 2-0 another 31 minutes later and cruised through the final set in 33 minutes to complete an astonishing demolition of one of his long-time rivals.

Federer broke Berdych's big serve four times and did not face one break point on his own service, while hitting 40 winners against just 17 unforced errors.

"I didn't expect it as such, to be honest, especially not this kind of a scoreline," Federer said.

"Especially having to save no breakpoints, just always rolling on the serve. That was a big surprise to me.

"I think it was a great mental test for me to see if I could stay in the match point for point, keep rolling.

"I was able to do that. That's where I'm just really happy that I was able to deliver that.

"I had no expectations really for tonight, but I did surprise myself."

On facing Nishikori in his next match, the 35-year-old Swiss legend said: "I'm a big fan of his game. He's got one of the best backhands out there. I love how he can crush it down the line or crosscourt.

"He's got wonderful second serve returns. He's fast on his legs. Strong in his mind.

"I know how tough he is as the match goes along. He finds his range and his rhythm, he's tough to stop."

It was the 23rd career meeting between the pair and their seventh meeting at a Grand Slam, and fourth at the Australian Open.

Federer extended his record to 17-6 over Berdych and has won their last six meetings. The last time the Czech defeated Federer was in the semi-finals at Dubai in 2013.

Earlier in the day, Kei Nishikori lost just eight of his first service points to beat qualifier and World No. 121 Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 11 minutes.

"For sure it's not going to be easy facing Roger," said Nishikori. "He was playing great tennis today. I watched only a few points. But it's always great to play him. It's a big challenge for me. I'm just happy to play him because I think we needed him on the tour. I’m happy to see him back 100 per cent."

Date: 20 January 2017, Source: AFP and ATP

Federer struggles but roars back to reach third round

Roger Federer took another successful step in his highly-celebrated comeback on Wednesday at the Australian Open. The Swiss star prevailed past 20-year-old American Noah Rubin 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (3) to reach the third round for the 18th consecutive year, every time Federer has played at Melbourne Park.

“It was a difficult first set and a tricky third set, of course,” said Federer. “I had to save a couple of set points. I know it could have gone different. I think I was a bit more consistent than in the first match against Melzer, where I ended up losing that second set after leading. I think I had a little bit better concentration. I didn't know much about Noah Rubin going in except the info I got from my coaches. I was prepared and I was ready to battle. I was able to get the win, so I'm very happy.”

The Swiss star hit 17 aces and won 82 per cent of his first-serve points. Federer had to work in the third set, though. He fell behind 2-5 against the American, who failed to convert two set point chances on Federer's serve in the eighth game.

Federer faces a familiar foe in the third round: 10th seed Tomas Berdych, who beat American Ryan Harrison 6-3, 7-6 (6), 6-2 in just over two hours. Federer leads their ATP Head to Head rivalry 16-6.

But the Swiss master said he would need to play better against big-hitting Berdych, despite winning their last five meetings, including a comfortable quarter-final victory at Melbourne Park last year.

“He's caused difficulties for me in the past on faster courts: Cincinnati, New York, Wimbledon, Olympics in Athens. I know what he's got and I've got to lift my game a little bit,” said Federer, whose 17th seeding ensured a demanding path to the second week.

Coming back from a knee injury, Federer conceded before the tournament that he had no idea whether he was ready to withstand the long four and five-set matches of a grand slam.

He was understandably thrilled to escape with only three sets before the Berdych battle.

“If I could have signed a contract to be in the third round, feeling this way, weeks or days or a month ago, I would have taken it,” said Federer.

“I'm still hoping to feel better and better and better as we go along.

“I'm getting tons of information out of these last few days now, which is big hopefully for the third round.”

Date: 18 January 2017, Source: ATP and Reuters

Federer makes winning return at Australian Open

Roger Federer made a winning return to competitive tennis after six months out of the game on Monday, thrilling a packed Rod Laver Arena as he beat qualifier Jurgen Melzer 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the Australian Open second round.

The Swiss had to battle hard throughout the match against his fellow 35-year-old and only pulled clear of his dogged opponent when the Austrian tired in the final set.

Even Federer could be forgiven a little rustiness after his prolonged absence due to a knee injury and he made 36 unforced errors in his two hours and six minutes on court.

There were, though, plenty of reminders of the brilliant shot-making that have helped Federer to 17 grand slam titles and his 46 to 26 advantage over Melzer in the winner count told the tale of what was ultimately a comfortable win.

The crowd cheered every one to the rafters and, while that pleased Federer, he was clearly just delighted to be back doing what he does best.

“I definitely see things a bit different when you've been gone for a long time or when you've come back from injury," he told reporters.

“It was great to be out there. I really enjoyed myself, even though it wasn't so simple.

“Now being here, feeling like I'm part of this tournament. I wasn't just in the draw, I'm actually making strides. It's a good feeling.”

Although he hit 19 aces and increasingly relied on his serve to get out of trouble, Federer was surprised at how long it took him to feel comfortable with that part of his game.

“I thought my serve was on and off in the beginning, which surprised me a little bit, because in practice it's been going pretty well,” said Federer. “I was feeling nervous once the match actually started. I was actually fine all day, warming up, in the warm-up five minutes with Jurgen. I felt fine. Then I hit four frames in a row. It was like, ‘Whew, it's not as easy as I thought it was going to be.

“I struggled for a while to find that groove, that rhythm and everything. Then you remind yourself how many times has it not been easy in the first round.

“I'm happy I was made to work today. Actually at the end I'm quite happy how I ended, which is most important.”

The secret to the improvement over the final two sets, he thought, had been relaxing a bit.

“I almost felt like I had to pace myself,” he said. “I didn't want to overthink every play. That was not the idea to come here and go mental about every point.

“I'm happy with the more relaxed attitude.”

Seeded 17th, Federer has much tougher battles ahead as he continues his bid for a fifth Melbourne Park title.

Next up in the second round on Wednesday, however, is another qualifier in American Noah Rubin.

It is Federer’s first appearance outside the Top 10 in the ATP Rankings at Melbourne Park since 2002 when he ranked No. 12 and his No. 17 seeding is his lowest at a Grand Slam championship since coming in unseeded at 2001 Roland Garros. Pete Sampras was the No. 17 seed when he won his final event, the 2002 US Open.

Date: 16 January 2017, Source: Reuters and ATP

Federer plays the waiting game at Australian Open

Roger Federer’s return to tournament play at the Australian Open has fans buzzing about potential matches against the world’s top players, but the four-time champion said he can't look that far ahead when he doesn't know who he will play first.

The No. 17 seed opens up against a qualifier and is guaranteed to play another qualifier in the second round should he advance. Having not played a competitive match since Wimbledon, Federer said he can’t afford to take any of his opponents lightly.

“It would be good to know who I play. Once it's out, it's a good thing because then you can start actually mentally preparing for the Australian Open,” said Federer. “Is it a lefty, a righty? It's a big deal. Is he a big server, a grinder? A bit of an unknown here the first round. Having not been playing, that's the part of the draw I care about most.”

Should he advance past his difficult section of the draw that includes No. 10 seed Tomas Berdych and fifth seed Kei Nishikori, Federer could square off against top seed Andy Murray in the quarter-finals. The Swiss maestro leads their ATP Head to Head rivalry 14-11 and has won their past five matches. But Federer acknowledged the Brit would be a much different opponent after reaching No. 1 in the ATP Rankings at the end of last season.

“It definitely feels different because everyone comes up to you and says you’re the best. You start walking around a bit differently. Just feel more confident overall in your shots. Usually when you win, it solves everything,” said Federer of becoming No. 1. “Then you come to a point where you have to remind yourself how hard you had to work to actually get there. It's going to require that plus more to stay there. But I feel like because Andy is not 18 years old, he knows all about that.

“I'm super happy for him. He deserves it,” added Federer. “He's been in there for a long time. He's had some tough losses, some great wins over the years. He never quite strung it together so that it would pay off, but this time it did. It's great for him and great for the sport.”

Federer is eager to get used to that winning feeling again, but has already enjoyed being back around the familiar atmosphere of tennis tournaments. Although he relished the time at home with his wife and their four children, returning to competition was always at the forefront of his mind.

“You do miss the matches. You miss the feeling of winning, walking onto a stadium, seeing the guys. It's like an extended family to some extent,” said Federer. “You walk around and you see faces you haven't seen in a while. It's just nice to see everybody again.

“I have a lot of friends on the tour because I'm the returning guest everywhere I go for 20 years,” he added. “It feels good to see those familiar faces every single year. It's something I couldn't quite enjoy the last six months. That's probably what I missed the most.”

Date: 14 January 2017, Source: ATP

Laver urges Federer to play three more years

Australian tennis great Rod Laver backed Roger Federer to extend his sensational career for another three years.

Federer said late last year he wanted to play at least two more years, with speculation over his future having increased after a knee injury in 2016.

But Laver, an 11-time grand slam champion, believes the Swiss maestro can continue to perform at the top for even longer.

"He's going to play another couple of years. I've heard him talk about it, he thinks two to three years," he told Omnisport.

"When I look at longevity, he's never had injuries, he's got a knee injury that gave him one little slip here in Australia last year.

"For me, without injuries, with his game, he can play well for a good three years.

"Not to put myself in his category, but I played until I was 37, 38 back in our era. I would love to see him play another three years."

Laver lauded Federer's contribution to the sport, with the 35-year-old having won a record 17 majors - although the last of those came in 2012.

"Federer has been a huge voice in the game of tennis with his ability on the court, the way he reacts to people off the court," he said.

"He's probably one of the most popular athletes, of all athletes, in the world. You see it everywhere.

"Looking at Perth and 6,000 people turn up to watch him practice at the Hopman Cup. That's unheard of."

Federer, who missed two grand slams last year, will be aiming for his first Australian Open title since 2010 when the event begins in Melbourne on Monday.

Date: 12 January 2017, Source: Sportal

Federer beats Gasquet, but Swiss lose at Hopman Cup

Roger Federer overwhelmed Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-4 in under an hour at the Hopman Cup on Friday to signal his return to form following a long six months injury layoff.

Returning this week after six months out of action, the Swiss 17-times grand slam champion beat Briton Dan Evans before suffering a three-set loss to German teenager Alexander Zverev at the mixed team event in Perth, Australia.

Federer barely missed a groundstroke, getting his first break of serve in the fourth game of the match and dominating proceedings from that point on. He also sent down 11 aces in nine service games.

Federer's 58-minute masterclass against Frenchman Gasquet in front of more than 13,000 spectators, however, should reassure his fans ahead of the year's first grand slam at Melbourne Park later this month.

"It was completely different to the previous two matches," the 35-year-old said after putting Switzerland 1-0 up against France at the Perth Arena.

"Every opponent makes your life difficult in a different way, trying to make it as hard as possible. Today was great, I had many more swings on the ball... had a bit more time.

"It's the third match into the year so I am starting to feel the ball better and better and just moving around the court better, so I am really pleased.

"I'm surprised how I'm playing already. Could not be more happy right now."

The former world number one has slipped to 16th in the rankings but was happy with his form against Gasquet who is 18th on the list.

"It's only the beginning, hopefully many more matches to come. I'm just very pleased to be on court. I did enjoy the last six months out, I enjoyed the last 18 years playing, so I'll stay around for a little bit long, if I can."

But the singles masterclass from Swiss champion was not enough to stop the French pairing of Richard Gasquet and Kristina Mladenovic winning through to the Hopman Cup final.

Mladenovic squared the tie with a three-set win over Belinda Bencic, before the French claimed the deciding mixed doubles.

The doubles was played in the Fast4 format of four-game sets, no deuces, and no service lets.

Date: 6 January 2017, Source: AP and Reuters

Federer loses close match to Zverev, but Swiss take the tie at Hopman Cup

Roger Federer hit a road bump on his comeback trail from injury, losing to German teenage sensation Alexander Zverev in three sets at the Hopman Cup in Perth on Wednesday night. The 17-time grand slam title winner went down 7-6 (1), 6-7 (7), 7-6 (4) in 150 minutes.

The 35-year-old Federer was playing his second match since returning from a six-month layoff - having been sidelined since Wimbledon with knee and back injuries.He led 5-2 in the first set, but ran into an opponent whose first-serve percentage exceeded 80 percent midway through the final set.

There wasn't much between the two throughout.

In the second set, Federer only lost four points on serve, but found himself in a second tiebreaker.

In the third, he remained calm as he saved two break points in his second service game; and another before taking a 5-4 lead.

But Zverev wouldn't go away - and with first serves consistently over 200km/h he showed why he's gaining so much attention in world tennis.

He now he holds a 2-1 record over Federer, downing him in Halle, Germany before Wimbledon last year.

Yet Federer believes he got exactly the type of workout he needs to see where his game is right now, as well as his powers of recovery. The result was, in a sense, a secondary concern.

“Who really cares, as long as I am playing injury-free and feeling good,” Federer said.

“I actually pulled up really good after the first match and the mixed, the next day, so this one will feel different.

“I’ll feel muscle pain, which is also one of the reasons why I came here, to have that pain in my body, so hopefully if I do have a tough match at the beginning in Melbourne I don’t have to go through it as extreme over there.

“I’m very happy. I have played five good sets so far. I am very pleased.”

“It was good to play two and a half hours. It is a great number to compete in, which is why I was really pushing to win the second set, to extend the match and get me into a tough, long match.”

In the end it turned out to be a winning evening for Federer and Swiss partner Belinda Bencic against Germany. Bencic beat Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-4 in their singles match, and then Federer and Bencic combined in mixed doubles to beat Zverev and Petkovic 4-1, 4-2 in the Fast4 format.

A place in Saturday’s final is now at stake for Federer and Bencic - the winner of the Switzerland and France tie on Friday night earns the opportunity to compete against USA.

Date: 4 January 2017, Source: AP and AAP

Federer wins 1st match on return, Switzerland beats Britain in Hopman Cup

Roger Federer returned from six months on the sidelines with a knee injury to beat Dan Evans 6-3, 6-4 on Monday and lead Switzerland to an opening 3-0 win over Great Britain at the Hopman Cup mixed teams tournament.

The 17-time major winner missed the French Open last year, ending a run of 65 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments, and hadn't played competitively since re-injuring his surgically repaired left knee at Wimbledon in July. But he showed no signs of rust in his 61-minute win over Evans.

''I would like to live it again. I'm a little bit sad it's over, because it was so nice out there,'' Federer said of his return. ''I was actually quite emotional. When I walked down, I was like, Oh my God, this is better than I thought it would be.''

The 35-year-old Federer said it was the kind of feeling he missed the most while he was sidelined.

"It felt good putting the match shirt back on, and serving first, and then trying to serve it out at the end.

"They are the moments I miss the most, even though those are the ones that make you nervous.

"That’s what you play tennis for. I thought for a first match it was great, because my expectations were obviously quite low."

Belinda Bencic held off Heather Watson 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 later Monday to give Switzerland an unbeatable 2-0 lead.

Federer and Bencic easily completed the sweep in the mixed doubles, beating Evans and Watson 4-0, 4-1.

Federer said he's looking for as many matches as possible in Perth ahead of the Australian Open, which starts 16 January in Melbourne. He hasn't won a Grand Slam title since 2012 at Wimbledon, and hasn't won the Australian Open title since 2010, but hasn't given up hope of extending his record in the majors.

''After all these years, it would be nice to win another one - of course I'd even take two or three or four,'' he said. ''We'll see. It's tough at the top. A lot of good guys are there right now, a lot of young guys are coming up too. The gap is definitely not very big but I'll give it a chance, and see what happens."

Federer said he had spent plenty of time on conditioning during his break from the game and felt pain free.

"For three or four weeks now I’ve stopped thinking of it, because I don’t have any reactions anymore," Federer said.

''I don't have any pain. It's been nice that I was able to get rid of that early.''

Switzerland is set to play Germany on Wednesday and France on Friday, with the winning team in Group A qualifying for Saturday's final.

France beat Germany 2-1 earlier Monday, with Richard Gasquet defeating Alexander Zverev 7-5, 6-3 and combining with Kristina Mladenovic to win the deciding mixed doubles, which is being played in the Fast4 format, 4-2, 4-1. Andrea Petkovic had earlier beaten Mladenovic 6-2, 6-1 in the women's singles.

Date: 2 January 2017, Source: AP and Hopman Cup