Federer remains on track

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Nine sets played, nine sets won

Roger Federer completed a perfect first week by swatting Richard Gasquet aside 6-2 7-5 6-4 in the third round of the Australian Open.

The defending champion had to work harder than the scoreline suggests as he made it 17 wins from 19 encounters with his French counterpart.

Up next for the 36-year-old, is Márton Fucsovics. The Hungarian, who had not won a match at Grand Slam level prior to the start of the tournament, earned his shot at the favourite by defeating Nicolás Kicker 6-3 6-3 6-2.

“I was maybe a little more offensive than he was and maybe I protected my serve a little better than him," responded the Swiss, when asked what the difference was between winning and losing.

“The second set was tight and the match was close. The third set could have gone to a tiebreak, and then you never know, so you’ve got to focus until the very end. Richard played well, as did I, and I just happened to win.”

Gasquet has often been criticised for his reluctance to adopt a different strategy when challenging the elite, however he showed a willingness to step outside his comfort zone and take risks on Saturday evening.

The 31-year-old contributed to an entertaining spectacle, but even his best efforts were not enough to derail the Swiss Express.

Gasquet was most competitive in the second set, firing 14 winners and committing just seven unforced-errors, yet he was still left empty-handed.

Federer moved a break ahead in the third set and appeared to be cruising into the last sixteen, however Gasquet was not quite ready to depart the Rod Laver Arena.

The Frenchman managed to break back after a spell of exquisite shotmaking, but he stumbled when serving stay in the match.

A fortuitous backhand winner propelled the Swiss over the finishing line, and he can now look forward to the buisness end of the tournament with relish.

Posted by: tennishead magazine

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