Federer and Murray too hot to handle at Australian Open

Tsonga and Tomic made to work hard for wins in searing temperatures

  • Switzerland's Roger Federer serves during his men's singles match against Russia's Nikolay DavydenImage Credit: AFP
  • Kim Sears, girlfriend of Andy Murray of Britain, fans herself during Murray's men's singles match agaiImage Credit: REUTERS
  • Andy Murray of Great Britain signs autographs after defeating Joao Sousa of Portugal, in round two of the AustImage Credit: EPA
  • Serena Williams of the US plays a return during her women's singles match against Garbine Muguruza of SpaiImage Credit: AFP
Gulf News

Melbourne: Roger Federer set up an intriguing clash with cocky young Australian Bernard Tomic as title rival Andy Murray booked a straightforward passage into the Australian Open third round on Thursday.

The Swiss world No 2 again mastered old rival Nikolay Davydenko in three sets to confirm his match-up with big-talking Tomic, 20, in the last 32 on Saturday.

The record 17-time Grand Slam champion had few problems with the 40th-ranked Russian, winning 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in 1hr 59min in a night match on Rod Laver Arena.

Federer stretched his record over Davydenko to 18-2 with a dominant performance containing three service breaks from 13 break point opportunities.

“I have so much more experience than him [Tomic],” Federer said. “Last year I reached my 1,000th match on tour and I know how hard a five-setter can be.

“I know how intense a night session can be. I’ve been there. That could potentially help me, but it could also not help me. We’ll see how it goes.”

Murray mercifully kept it short as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomic were made to sweat it out to the third round.

On the hottest day so far at the Grand Slam, with temperatures hitting 41 Celsius (106 Fahrenheit), iced towels and water bottles were in big demand with the players.

British third seed and reigning US Open champion Murray was impressive in conceding just eight games as he put away 100th-ranked Portuguese Joao Sousa, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 in 1hr 41min in Hisense Arena.

Murray, twice a runner-up at the Australian Open, will have his hitting partner, Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis, as his next opponent in the last 32.

On Thursday, Murray was too hot to handle, breaking Sousa’s service five times without facing a break point. It was his sixth consecutive match victory this season after he beat Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov to win his 25th career title at the Brisbane International.

While Murray made reasonably short work of it, Tsonga and Tomic were kept on court for longer than they wanted under the boiling sun.

Frenchman Tsonga, a runner-up here five years ago, was made to toil hard in the heat for his 6-3, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3 win over Japan’s 73rd-ranked Go Soeda in 2hr 3min on Margaret Court Arena.

Seventh-seeded Tsonga will next face unseeded Slovenian Blaz Kavcic, who took almost five hours before overcoming Australian James Duckworth 10-8 in the fifth set.

Tomic secured a 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (10/8) win in 2hr 55min to reach the third round and continue his unbeaten start to the year after claiming his first tour title at the Sydney International.

Elsewhere, former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro bludgeoned a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 win over German Benjamin Becker, while Frenchman Gael Monfils double-faulted on four match points before winning 8-6 in the fifth set against Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun.

France’s Gilles Simon will be Monfils’ next opponent after beating Canadian Jesse Levine in three sets, while compatriot Richard Gasquet accounted for Colombia’s Alejandro Falla in straight sets.

Croatia’s 12th seed Marin Cilic, a semi-finalist three years ago, beat American qualifier Rajeev Ram in straight sets, German seed Philipp Kohlschreiber won in three and Frenchman Jeremy Chardy knocked out Spanish 30th seed Marcel Granollers in four sets.

Big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic fired 18 aces in his straight-sets win over the Czech Republic’s Lukas Rosol, while Italian 21st seed Andreas Seppi prevailed over Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin in five sets.