1/20/2017 3:25:25 PM

Vintage Federer hammers Berdych to reach fourth round

Vintage Federer hammers Berdych to reach fourth round

 

MELBOURNE, Reuters: A rampaging Roger Federer delivered a stunning reminder of his class at the Australian Open on Friday with a crushing 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win over Tomas Berdych to storm into the fourth round.

Playing only his third Tour match since coming back from a knee injury, Federer was expected to be tested by the hard-hitting Czech but he sent the 10th seed packing after a 90-minute masterclass at a floodlit Rod Laver Arena.

The 35-year-old Swiss, seeded 17th, had shown rust in his earlier matches but was in spell-binding touch with 40 winners, wrapping up the match with an imperious crosscourt backhand.

Federer will meet fifth seed Kei Nishikori for a place in the quarterfinals.

Nishikori reached the fourth round with a convincing, straightsets win over Slovak qualifier Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

Earlier, Andy Murray saw off giant-killer Sam Querrey as he ramped up his bid for a first Australian Open title after the shock departure of six-time champion Novak Djokovic.

On a cool day in Melbourne, the men's No.1 and women's top seed Angelique Kerber both hit a hot patch of form as the final rounds beckoned.

Murray will have watched from the sidelines as second seed Djokovic, his conqueror in four Melbourne finals, suffered a stunning defeat to 117th-ranked Denis Istomin on Thursday.

Querrey also upset Djokovic at Wimbledon last year but Murray, made a knight in Britain's New Year honours, never looked like slipping on any banana skins in round three.

He put Querrey away 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in just under two hours, winning 77 per cent of points on his first serve and facing only three break points in a clinical display.

The Scot also showed no signs of discomfort in his right ankle, after he rolled it painfully during his second-round win over Andrey Rublev.

"I felt better and better as the match went on in terms of my movement," he said. "The ankle was a little sore and I was a little tentative at the start but it got better and better through the match."

Next up for Murray is an assignment with Mischa Zverev, the elder brother of highly-rated German teen Alexander who came through in four sets against Tunisia's Malek Jaziri.

Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, survived a four-set tussle with Viktor Troicki 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (9/7) and now faces Italy's Andreas Seppi, who ousted Steve Darcis of Belgium.

Former finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also came through in four sets against American Jack Sock and will play Briton Dan Evans, who beat Australia's Bernard Tomic 7-5, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/3).

In the women's draw, Kerber finally got into her stride with a 6-0, 6-4 destruction of Kristyna Pliskova, the 58th-ranked twin sister of Czech fifth seed Karolina.

The German defending champion was an early loser at both of her warm-up tournaments and was taken to three sets in unconvincing wins in round one and two.

But Kerber clicked into gear against Pliskova, winning in just 55 minutes to set up a last-16 clash with America's Coco Vandeweghe, who ousted Canadian starlet Eugenie Bouchard.

"I'm looking forward to the next one. Yeah, I think that I find my rhythm to the tournament now," Kerber said.

Svetlana Kuznetsova outlasted fellow veteran Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 5-7, 9-7 and will next play fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Venus Williams beat Duan Yingying 6-1, 6-0 to end Chinese involvement, earning a fourth-round match against German qualifier Mona Barthel, who overcame Australia's Ashleigh Barty in three sets. 

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