Federer makes untroubled progress

Three-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer headed the list of seeded players to safely make it through to the third round on day four at Melbourne Park.

Three-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer headed the list of seeded players to safely make it through to the third round on day four at Melbourne Park.

The world number one booked his passage to the next stage with an effortless 6-1 6-2 6-0 win over French journeyman Fabrice Santoro in a tension-free meeting on centre court.

Joining the champion Swiss in the next round are local hope Lleyton Hewitt, third seed Novak Djokovic, Spaniards Juan Carlos Ferrero and David Ferrer, Argentinian Juan Monaco and the Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych.

The only seeds to fall in the day session were Russian 32 seed Dmitry Tursunov and 25th seed Fernando Verdasco, of Spain.

American Sam Querrey beat Tursunov 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-4 6-2, while Janko Tipsarevic accounted for Verdasco 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-3).

Hewitt appeared set for a comfortable win when he took the first two sets against Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin.

But Istomin fought back to take the third set before Hewitt prevailed 6-1 in the fourth, much to the relief of the Australian crowd.

Despite his easy journey to the third round, Federer is wary of Tipsarevic heading into their third-round match on Saturday.

Tipsarevic upset Verdasco in an impressive straight-sets second-round win, leaving Federer worried about the little-known Serb.

“I thought really Verdasco was going to make it. He’s got a hell of a game,” Federer said. “But Janko has really improved a lot, I think, the last couple years.

“I played him in Davis Cup. We had a very one-sided match that went my way (but) I played on home turf, which helped.

“I practised with him at the US Open. I really feel like he’s hitting a good ball. He’s good off both sides. He came through some tough matches.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how the beginning of the match starts. It’s going to be a dangerous match. He beat some good players the last couple years, so we’ll see.”

While Federer is concerned about his next appointment, Santoro is in no doubt the Swiss is building towards another grand slam title after taking just 81 minutes to end the Frenchman’s 16th Australian Open campaign.

“He was a tremendous player the past four years and I think he’s a better player today,” Santoro offered.

“He’s a better athlete, too. He’s moving unbelievably well. Everything looks easy to him. There is no space to play. There is no space to hit some aces because he’s returning everything.

“He has time when he’s attacking. He has time when he’s on the defence, too. He has always time to play. He’s never in a rush or anything. When he’s coming to the net, there is no space to pass him.”

Federer has spent just 145 minutes on court in completing two comfortable wins in Melbourne, dropping just six games in the process.

He does not see the lack of court time as a negative, despite his overall record suggesting he can struggle when a match goes the full distance.

“It (statistics) doesn’t always tell the truth, you know,” he said. “I played quite a few five-setters early on in my career. I had a couple of tough ones I think in Davis Cup one time.

“I haven’t played much (five-set tennis) the last few years but I just have to really put my mindset when I practise, ’Can I last seven matches out of five sets?’

“Sometimes you think everything’s working fine till you’re all of a sudden in the most important match of your career, you’re in a five-setter, you can’t handle it. That’s actually why I’m happy I did already play five-setters when I was younger.”

In other completed men’s singles matches on day four, Berdych overcame Spaniard Oscar Hernandez 6-2 6-1 6-3.

Monaco beat American Amer Delic 6-3 7-6 5-7 6-7 (10-8) 8-6 in a 251-minute marathon, while Ferrero downed Australian Alun Jones 6-4 6-4 6-2.

Djokovic was too good for Italy’s Simone Bolelli, winning 6-1 6-2 6-2.

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