Melbourne: Swiss great Roger Federer put big-talking Australian Bernard Tomic firmly in his place on Saturday as he joined Andy Murray in the second week of the Australian Open.
The revered 17-time Grand Slam-winner, afforded a bigger cheer than Tomic as he entered Rod Laver Arena, held court as he swept to a straight-sets win, after coming through a tight second-set tie-break, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1.
After Tomic had talked up his chances of an upset, Federer’s motivation was clear as he broke immediately and took the first set, clawed his way back from 4-1 down in the second-set tie-break and then sped through the third.
Federer, who became the first man to collect 250 Grand Slam wins, will now face Canada’s Milos Raonic in the fourth round as he continues his bid for a fifth Australian Open crown.
“Overall we both played a great match. Bernard has had a great run and he really got the best out of me tonight, so I hope he can keep it up, I really wish him the best,” Federer said.
“You’ve got to expect the unexpected and Bernard’s got the tools to do that. The court was playing a touch faster when we played last year so it allows him to play a bit more aggressive and he’s a big guy with a powerful serve.”
Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro, seeded six, became the tournament’s biggest casualty when the 2009 US Open champion slumped to a five-set defeat to unseeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet also went through, and with Gilles Simon playing Gael Monfils later France was assured of having four men in the fourth round, equalling their best performance at the tournament.
In the most competitive day so far, Murray extended his Grand Slam winning streak to 10 matches but not before a thorough workout from hitting partner Berankis, and he let his frustrations show during the 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 win.
The world number three trailed by a break of serve in the second set and appeared agitated at various stages, hitting his racquet on the court and yelling at his courtside box.
Murray served for the match at 5-4 in the third set but Berankis, the world number 110, broke back. But the 22-year-old dropped his next service game and Murray made no mistake in his second attempt at closing the victory.
The Olympic and US Open champion will next face the winner of the all-French affair between Monfils and Simon.
“I was struggling,” Murray said. “He (Berankis) was making me feel pretty frustrated. We know each other well and we have practised together. He was making me feel pretty uncomfortable out there.”
World number seven Del Potro won four titles last year and dropped just 13 games in the first two rounds, but he found Chardy in inspired form and couldn’t recover after going two sets down, finally succumbing in five.
Italy’s Andreas Seppi ousted 12th seed Marin Cilic, but Tsonga found it easier with a straight-sets win over Blaz Kavcic, who was on an IV drip just two days ago after playing a five-hour marathon in intense heat.
In the prime-time evening match, four-time champion Roger Federer was due to play Australian upstart Bernard Tomic as he seeks to extend his record number of Grand Slam titles to 18.