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Tennis: Fast Federer excited by Tsitsipas clash after Fritz blitz

AFP , Friday 18 Jan 2019
Federer
Roger Federer needed just under 90 minutes to demolish Taylor Fritz AFP
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Ageless Roger Federer marked his 100th Rod Laver Arena match Friday by storming past Taylor Fritz, then looked forward to a "high quality" last-16 clash against another young gun, Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion continued his quest for a record seventh Australian Open title with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 third-round demolition of 21-year-old American Fritz in just 88 minutes of flawless tennis.

The up-and-coming world number 50 was given a lesson by the precision and finesse of the Swiss master, who extended his Open-era record for the most appearances in the last 16 of a Grand Slam to 63.

Next up is 14th seed Tsitsipas. And the 37-year-old Federer is looking forward to taking on the fiery young Greek, who is 17 years his junior.

Federer played him in the recent mixed teams Hopman Cup, winning a closely contested singles 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/4), and said he was impressed.

"I think he played really well there. I actually did too. I thought it was really high quality tennis," Federer said.

"This is obviously a different type of match, it being best of five, it being a fourth round of a Slam."

Tsitsipas was docked a serve for a time violation and slapped with a code violation for swearing as he fought past 18th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in four sets.

"I think he had to work extremely hard against Basilashvili," said Federer.

- 'Attacking tennis' -

"I'm happy for him. He's playing so well, and I'm looking forward to the match-up with him. I think it's going to be a good one.

"I like how he mixes up his game and also comes to the net. So will I. I think we will see some athletic attacking tennis being played."

Federer blitzed Fritz from the start, barrelling through the first set in just 20 minutes.

It prompted Nick Kyrgios, commentating on Australian TV, to proclaim: "The way Federer is moving is scary. This is ridiculous tennis."

Federer said that he would rather see the temperamental Australian on court than in a commentary booth and preferred to talk about his young opponent's potential.

"Taylor played really well," said Federer.

"The first serve dropped up at times, but you can see the upside. He is going to have many more years on tour playing at this level. It is pretty cool to watch him play."

Ominously for his rivals, he is yet to drop a set this year and came into the Australian Open on the back of victory at the Hopman Cup in Perth.

Federer has won the last two tournaments at Melbourne Park in a late career resurgence and on this form will be hard to stop from extending his all-time record with a 21st major victory.

Federer, Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson have all won six Australian Opens -- although the Australian great's victories all came before the Open era.

 

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