The win sees Roger Federer reach his 57th quarter-final in grand slam tennis. (AP: Dita Alangkara)
Roger Federer has overcome a sluggish start to win his fourth round match in the Australian Open, a match after a draining and difficult escape in which he was two points from defeat.
- Roger Federer was coming off a gruelling five-set win over Australia’s John Millman two days before
- The Swiss world number three lost the first set to Marton Fucsovics as a result, but got his act together soon after
- The four-set victory sees Federer advance to a 57th quarter-final in grand slam tennis
After dropping the opener, Federer quickly righted himself and pushed through the next three sets without a hitch, reaching the 57th grand slam quarter-final of his career by coming back to beat Marton Fucsovics 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 on Sunday.
“Finally found a way,” Federer said.
“Had a good start to the second set and eventually it became easier.”
When he takes on Tennys Sandgren, a 28-year-old from Tennessee, it will be the 38-year-old Federer’s record 15th quarter-final at the Australian Open.
He has won the title at Melbourne Park a half-dozen times, part of his men’s record 20 major championships.
Federer kidded around about Sandgren’s sport-appropriate first name; named after his great-grandfather.
“He was not going to be a baseball player, that’s for sure,” Federer told the Rod Laver Arena crowd through a wide smile during his post-match interview.
Then, doubling down, Federer went on: “I’ve never played against Tennys. Played a lot of tennis in my life, but never against Tennys.
Federer’s slow start against Fucsovics might have been a result of all of the energy he expended while getting past John Millman in a fifth-set super tiebreaker on Friday. That match lasted more than four hours.
“The morning after … and this morning, [I was] lying in bed for an hour,” Federer said, “and I was like, ‘When are we going to stand up?’ … I’m sure I’m going to feel better every day that goes by.”
Millman was two points from victory at 8-4 in the tiebreaker, before Federer reeled off the last six consecutive points.
“Guy gave me a beatdown from the baseline,” Federer said about Australia’s Millman, “so maybe it took some of my confidence away.”
Things never got quite so dire against Fucsovics, a 27-year-old from Hungary who is ranked 67th and was seeking his first major quarter-final appearance.
After failing to accumulate a single break point in the first set, Federer won seven of Fucsovics’s service games the rest of the way.
He ended up with a 44-15 edge in winners on an evening with the temperature below 20 degrees Celsius.
“Frosty,” Federer joked. “I mean, it’s not that cold, after all. It’s fresh. It’s true, for Australia this time of year, we know it can be very different.”
Federer has yet to face a seeded player in the tournament and that won’t change against Sandgren, who is ranked 100th but eliminated number 12 Fabio Fognini in four sets.
The lowest-ranked player that has ever defeated Federer in his 21 Australian Open appearances was number 54 Arnaud Clement in 2000.