19 January - 1 February 2015
Put yourself on court with ReturnServe. From analysing returns on the court to measuring social sentiment. Data is a game changer. IBM.
Put yourself on court with ReturnServe. From analysing returns on the court to measuring social sentiment. Data is a game changer. IBM.
Roger Federer

Prior to their third-round match beginning, Teymuraz Gabashvili requested more sunscreen, which he promptly slathered onto his face.

It may have provided him some safety from the sun, but it failed to provide him with sufficient protection from Roger Federer.

For Federer the positives to come out of today's match were the 6-2 6-2 6-3 win, obviously, followed by the former No.1's form and movement, which improved the longer the one hour and 41 minute match lasted.

"I'm just happy waking up in the morning and not feeling like an old man, so that's very positive," said Federer who was plagued by back problems in 2013.

The four-time Australian Open champion said that after a difficult 2013 he is now feeling more confident in his movement and body, bad news for his upcoming opponent, either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Gilles Simon.

But today's match didn't start quite so smoothly for the Swiss Maestro. An air swing on his first serve followed by a pair of framed shots came, surprisingly, from the Federer racquet.

A slightly nervy start soon dissipated as both players settled into the match, which was played in cool conditions at Rod Laver Arena, a far cry from the heat of the past four days.

The 79th-ranked Russian certainly didn't look overawed by the occasion. A booming forehand winner to add an exclamation point to a scintillating 21-shot rally showed off the Russian's shot-making capability.

But anything Gabashvili could do, Roger could do better. Winners off both wings a feature as he asserted himself on the match.

As always Federer's backhand down the line was a joy to behold and a reminder of why he spent 302 weeks atop the men's rankings.

A pair of breaks in the sixth and eighth games of the first two sets gave Federer a stranglehold on the match that the Russian would not be able to shake.

To his credit, Gabashvili fought bravely and conjured a few more shots for the highlights reel, but he never seriously challenged the sixth seed.

Federer put his foot down in the third set, closing it out 6-3 in just 29 minutes, making it the quickest set of the three and delivering him safely into the fourth round for the 13th time in his career.

If there was any knock on Federer's play today it would perhaps be his break-point conversion. Five of 14, 36 per cent overall, suggests that Federer was somewhat wasteful, but what these stats don't show is that Gabashvili did come up with some excellent serves in these clutch moments.

After the match Federer spoke about needing to lift his level for the second week and he will, because from here on in, things get serious.

"[My] first goal was just to get through the first week … now clearly the draw is getting extremely difficult," said Federer.

"I've done the work, I've not lost a set so far, so we'll see how it goes."

Should Federer win his fourth-round match, he sets up a potential quarterfinal with fourth seed Andy Murray who defeated Federer in the semifinals here last year.

Week two is shaping up very nicely indeed.


Wednesday, 18 February 2015
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