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No. 52 For Federer, Faces Berdych In QFs

Like player, like coach. In 2002, Roger Federer beat Attila Savolt in the second round of the Australian Open. On Monday, Federer knocked out Hungary's Marton Fucsovics, who's coached by Savolt, to reach his 14th Australian Open quarter-finals 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-2.

Federer has now won 12 consecutive sets as he looks to stay on track to defend his Australian Open title. He made a bit of history as well on Monday. The 36-year-old Federer became the oldest man to reach the Melbourne quarter-finals since Ken Rosewall (43 years, 59 days) in December 1977, and Federer extended his Open Era record by reaching his 52nd Grand Slam quarter-finals.

The second seed will next face Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals. Federer leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 19-6, including all four matchups at the Australian Open (2008, 2009, 2016, 2017), and has won their past eight contests.

"We have had some good ones over the years," said Federer. "I'm looking forward to playing against him. He seems in good shape, and I'm happy he's over his back issues that he also had at the end of last year. That's a good thing."

Fucsovics hardly lied down for Federer, though. The 25-year-old Hungarian was playing in his first Grand Slam fourth round, and he wasn't intimidated by the moment, particularly in the first two sets. The right-hander saved seven of 10 break points for the match against Federer, who showed a bit of everything against Fucsovics, including relentless defence and aggressive offence.

Roger Federer advances to the 52nd Grand Slam quarter-final of his career with a victory Monday over Marton Fucsovics.
“I thought he was playing really clean, solid,” Federer said on court after the match. “Credit to him for playing a great tournament.”

But Fucsovics, who had previously played best-of-five set practice matches with his opponent in Switzerland, couldn't touch Federer's serve. The second seed conducted a clinic with his racquet on Rod Laver Arena. His serve numbers by set:

First Set: 80% (20/25)
Second Set: 88% (28/32, including 18/18 on his first serve)
Third Set: 71% (17/24)

Federer, speaking about their previous practice match experience, shed some light on how the meeting in his home country helped him in the fourth-round encounter. "He was not completely the unknown opponent that maybe people thought he was," said Federer.

"When you play multiple sets in a short period of time against somebody, you start to understand their strengths and weaknesses a little bit. The goal for me was really trying to be focused on my own game and take it to him and play tough, but he hung with me for a long time, so it was a good match."

The five-time champion never faced a break point, and although he'll want to shore up his play during break points – three for 10 – the Swiss will happily take another straight-sets win.


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