Aussie Open: Federer Marches On, Sharapova Ousts Champ Wozniacki

Jan 18 - by AFP for SportPesa News

The Swiss great tamed big-serving American Taylor Fritz 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 with the roof closed on Rod Laver Arena to stay on track for a third successive title at Melbourne Park and a 21st Grand Slam crown

Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates winning his third round match against Taylor Fritz of the United States during day five of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 18, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. PHOTO/GettyImages

  • Ice man Roger Federer clinically swept into the Australian Open last 16 Friday as in-form Ashleigh Barty rallied home hopes by setting up a clash with Caroline Wozniacki or Maria Sharapova
  • On a rain-affected day that prevented early play on outside courts, the 37-year-old showed no mercy to the 21-year-old in his 100th match on the centre court in Melbourne
  • Rafael Nadal plays a night match against a player he calls "one of the best in the world", referring to Australian teenager Alex de Minaur who won the Sydney International last week and is on seven-match win streak

MELBOURNE, Australia- Ice man Roger Federer clinically swept into the Australian Open last 16 Friday as in-form Ashleigh Barty rallied home hopes by setting up a clash with Caroline Wozniacki or Maria Sharapova.

The Swiss great tamed big-serving American Taylor Fritz 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 with the roof closed on Rod Laver Arena to stay on track for a third successive title at Melbourne Park and a 21st Grand Slam crown.

On a rain-affected day that prevented early play on outside courts, the 37-year-old showed no mercy to the 21-year-old in his 100th match on the centre court in Melbourne.

"I had a really good feeling out here today against someone who can be dangerous," said Federer after reaching the Melbourne fourth round for the 17th time -- more than anyone else ever. 

"Taylor played really well. He is going to have many more years on tour playing at this level. It is pretty cool to watch him play."

The double defending champion is gunning for a record seventh Australian title. If goes on to win the tournament, he will become the first man ever to claim seven or more crowns at two Slams, having already won eight Wimbledons.

Next up for him is fiery Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 14th seed who beat Georgia's 19th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4.

Rafael Nadal plays a night match against a player he calls "one of the best in the world", referring to Australian teenager Alex de Minaur who won the Sydney International last week and is on seven-match win streak.

"He's young, very young. He is winning a lot of matches. So let's see. Going to be a tough one," said Nadal, the 2009 champion who is searching for an 18th Grand Slam title.

The winner will face Tomas Berdych, who rallied to beat Argentine 18th seed Diego Schwartzman 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.

The Czech veteran reached the semi-finals in 2014 and 2015 but is unseeded this year as he returns from a back injury that almost forced his retirement last year.

Nadal is followed on court by Germany's second seed Angelique Kerber, the 2016 title holder who takes on Australian youngster Kimberley Birrell.

Not healthy

Maria Sharapova stunned defending champion Caroline Wozniacki to sweep into the Australian Open last 16 Friday and join ice man Roger Federer, who clinically disposed of his opponent.

The Russian five-time Grand Slam winner, who has struggled since returning from a drugs ban in 2017, was as at full throttle in ending the Dane's dream of a second major title.

Sharapova won 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 with the roof closed on Rod Laver Arena and will next play in-form local hope Ashleigh Barty, who bounced Greece's Maria Sakkari, for a berth in the quarter-finals.

"I thought the level was quite high. I knew it would be a tough match," said the 2008 champion, who has been in sizzling form at the tournament as she chases her first Slam title since Roland Garros in 2014.

"These types of matches are what I train for and it was really rewarding to win that last point," added the 30th seed.