Federer leaving nothing to chance in quarter

Roger Federer (AP)
Roger Federer (AP)

Melbourne - Familiarity won't be breeding contempt for Roger Federer as the defending champion lines up for his fifth Australian Open match against long-time rival Tomas Berdych.

The Swiss star charged into his 14th Australian Open quarter-final with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 win against Hungary's Marton Fucsovics in just over two hours on Rod Laver Arena on Monday.

Federer will be facing Berdych for the 26th time overall in Wednesday's last eight match, holding a 19-6 lead over him dating back to 2004. 

The 19-time Grand Slam champion, who hasn't lost in four matches against Berdych in Melbourne, won't be taking the big-serving Czech for granted nor relying solely on past performances.

"I did watch a little bit of Tomas's win against Fabio Fognini today and I saw a little bit of him against Juan Martin del Potro," he said. 

"For me, I think personally it is important to see a little bit just because he might be using different weapons this week. 

"He might be taking the ball earlier or later or serving different patterns, so it's good to know.

"Of course, the coaches are going to get more in depth into Tomas's game, and I will absorb the information that I get back from them. 

"But sometimes it is good to see for myself a little bit, because I have the feeling of having played him but also see him play. I think that combination is important for a player." 

Federer chalked up his 52nd Grand Slam quarter-final in beating Fucsovics, the most in the post-1968 Open Era. 

It was the Swiss legend's first meeting with the Hungarian, who spent a few days in the off-season training with him in Switzerland. 

"I thought he played very well. It was fast conditions, you have to have quick ideas and execute well and I thought he did that very well," Federer said of his unheralded opponent. 

"Being two sets down is never easy, but I thought he was playing very clean, solid and I had a hard time breaking through until two sets and a break up." 

Federer's latest victory was his 91st in Melbourne to make the Australian Open his joint most successful Grand Slam in terms of matches won along with Wimbledon. 

He wasn't expected to encounter too much trouble with Fucsovics and so it proved with three service breaks, and no break points on his own service along with 34 winners. 

Federer is coming off an extraordinary 2017, when he won a fifth Australian Open title and a record eighth at Wimbledon, after returning from an injury lay-off. 

The 36-year-old is bidding to win his 20th Grand Slam title and is the oldest man to reach the last eight at a major since American Jimmy Connors (39 years) at the 1991 US Open. 

It was in Melbourne a year ago where he lit the fuse on his late-life tennis renaissance, beating Berdych, Kei Nishikori, Mischa Zverev and Stan Wawrinka before downing great rival Rafael Nadal in a five-set final classic.

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