Roger Federer raced through his third round match against the 10th seed Tomas Berdych in straight sets 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the last 16 of the Australian Open in just one hour and 30 minutes.
An early break of serve in all three sets was all that was required for the 17-time Grand Slam champion as he was no match for the two-time semi finalist in this last 32 clash.
Heading into the match Federer led their head to head 16-6, with the last meeting coming at last year’s Australian Open, with the Swiss winning in straight sets in the quarterfinal. Just one year on from that match it is hard to believe that these two were meeting so early on at just the third round stage of a major. Berdych had scored big wins over his opponent at the Grand Slams in the past, defeating him in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 2010 and the quarterfinals of the US Open in 2012 but was no match for the former champion today.
The Swiss strolls through the first set
Berdych raced through his opening service game in less than a minute before Federer had a bit of a wobble on serve as he uncharacteristically hit two double faults back to back pegging him back to 30-30. The Swiss responded swiftly with an ace and an unreturned serve to level at 1-1. To the delight of the packed out crowd inside the Rod Laver Arena the 17th seed got the first break of the match, forcing the Czech into making errors when on the defensive.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion was under pressure when attempting to consolidate the break at 30-30 but once again came up with an ace down the tee at the crucial moment, extending his lead to 4-2. At 40-15 Berdych looked to be on his way to a comfortable hold. Testing out a new lower ball toss which he had been working on with new coach Goran Ivanisevic over the winter break, the 10th seed was making less than 50 percent of his first serves in and it came back to bite him as he dropped serve for a second time. Federer had little trouble serving out the set, closing it out 6-2 after 28 minutes.
Federer far too strong in sets two and three
Berdych was looking to make a better start to the second set but looked perplexed and surprised at how well Federer was playing. The Swiss picked up from where he left off, breaking immediately before racing 2-0 in front.
Federer had little trouble hanging on to the break of serve throughout the set. At 5-3 Berdych looked a beaten man at 0-15 on serve, but the Czech responded with four consecutive points to force the Swiss to serve it out. The 17th seed sealed the set on his second set point 6-4, cruising towards victory.
At the beginning of the third set, Federer wowed the crowd yet again, breaking Berdych after striking a scintillating backhand cross-court winner to take a 1-0 lead. Just like on the previous set the one break was the Swiss needed as he moved a game away at 5-3. Berdych had to come through a real tussle when serving to stay in the match as the Czech squandered a 40-0 advantage. Three more game points went by as the former world number one pressed to finish the match here and now, but a forehand volley winner followed by an ace sealed the game.
Federer advances to face fifth seed Kei Nishikori in the fourth round after he defeated Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.