Thursday, January 19, 2017

Roger Federer fights past qualifier faces Berdych next in Aussie Open 3rd round

Roger Federer has booked his place in the third round of Australian Open 2017 with a 7-5 6-3 7-6(3) win over American Noah Rubin.

Federer, playing in his 18th Australian Open main draw, was the heavy favourite going in to the match, but Rubin pushed the four-time winner all the way in an engrossing tussle.

Aggressive from the off, Federer attempted to unsettle the 20-year-old qualifier. However, Rubin stood his ground, saving numerous break points in an entertaining first set. It looked as though the pair were heading for a tiebreak when Federer got the break he needed to take the opening set 7-5.

The second set followed a now-familiar pattern, with Federer attacking the Rubin serve. This time the American succumbed early, broken in the sixth game of the match to surrender the set.

The third was a much tighter affair.

Rubin broke at the start, and looked to be taking the match to a fourth set. However, Federer turned up the pressure while trailing 3-5 and managed to force the break.

With the set headed to a tiebreak, the momentum swung in the Swiss maestro’s favour, and he secured the set, and the match.

"He's a great fighter ... he's aggressive on the ball and I think he had the upper hand on the baseline," Federer said after the match. "I think my serving kept me in the match today ... I'm happy I got through somehow.

"I wasn't feeling as good (late) as in the beginning. I definitely got a little lucky in that third set ... so it was good to fight through."

In a re-match of the 2016 quarterfinal, Federer will face 10th seed Tomas Berdych in the third round.

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