Aussie Fed expresses himself... now for local hero Hewitt

Australia likes adopting European players, whether officially or unofficially. Anastasia Rodionova, who was born in Russia, and Jarmila Groth, from Slovakia, have both been given Australian citizenship in recent weeks, while Kim Clijsters, through her former engagement to Lleyton Hewitt, and Ana Ivanovic, by dint of her family connections in Melbourne, were quickly dubbed "Aussie Kim" and "Aussie Ana".

It was revealed yesterday that even the greatest of them all might have set up camp by a billabong under the shade of a coolibah tree. After reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open here with a 6-3 6-4 6-4 victory over Albert Montanes, Roger Federer said that his parents had considered emigrating Down Under when he was a teenager.

"I remember my parents having a debate: are we moving from Switzerland to come live here?" Federer said. "We went on a big vacation through Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns to get a better idea of the country. Beautiful vacation – but in the end we decided to stay in Switzerland."

How the Australians could do with Federer, who also has South African citizenship through his mother. Hewitt and Sam Stosur, who reached the fourth round yesterday with victories over Marcos Baghdatis and Alberta Brianti respectively, are the only Aussies left in singles competition and are not likely to be around much longer. Stosur's next opponent is Serena Williams, the world No 1, while Hewitt faces Federer, who has beaten him 14 times in a row.

Federer faltered in his opener here against Igor Andreev but has coasted through his subsequent matches. Montanes, the world No 32, never looked capable of stopping the Swiss extending his remarkable record of reaching the last 16 of every Grand Slam since he lost in the third round of the French Open six years ago.

"I don't want to say I'm playing the best tennis of my life, because I haven't had to so far," Federer said. "I feel like I'm fresh and ready to take on the bigger names."

Hewitt completed his victory over Baghdatis in considerably quicker time than on the equivalent Saturday two years ago, when the Australian defeated the Cypriot at 4.34am. Hewitt was leading 6-0 4-2 last night when Baghdatis retired with a shoulder injury.

Novak Djokovic and Nikolay Davydenko underlined their status as the two strongest challengers in Federer's half of the draw with emphatic victories. Djokovic, who won the title here two years ago, steamrollered Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin, winning 6-1 6-1 6-2. The Serb now plays Poland's Lukasz Kubot, whose scheduled opponent, Mikhail Youzhny, withdrew with a wrist injury.

"It was good to have a match like this," Djokovic said. "At some stage in the tournament you want to have a straight-sets win, an easy win, so you can get off the court fast and try to save as much energy as you can for the upcoming challenges."

Having played 97 matches last year – more than any other player – Djokovic is delighted to keep his time on court to a minimum. "I got fed up, to be honest, with tournaments and matches," he said. "I didn't have a lot of time really to recover and just to relax like most of the top players."

Davydenko has yet to drop a set and extended that sequence with an emphatic 6-0 6-3 6-4 win over Juan Monaco. The Russian will now play Fernando Verdasco, a semi-finalist here 12 months ago. Verdasco had taken the first set against Stefan Koubek when his Austrian opponent, who was suffering from a virus, retired.

The Williams sisters remain on course for a semi-final confrontation, Serena crushing Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0 6-3 and Venus beating Casey Dellacqua 6-1 7-6 to set up a fourth-round meeting with Francesca Schiavone. The sisters have yet to drop a set here this year.

Serena's victory would have been much quicker but for a remarkable game at the end of the first set. It featured 13 deuces, the world No 1 winning on her eighth set point. At nearly 20 minutes the game took longer than the previous five combined. Suarez Navarro made Williams work for her victory in the second set, though the result was never in doubt.

China will have two players in the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time. Zheng Jie earned her place in the last 16 by beating Marion Bartoli and Li Na joined her by beating Daniela Hantuchova 7-5 3-6 6-2.

Li has spent most evenings dining out in Melbourne's Chinatown and found one restaurant that matched her appetite for spicy food, though she may not return in a hurry. "I ate there two days in a row, but now my stomach feels so bad," she said.

Britain's Colin Fleming and Ken Skupski suffered a disappointing second-round defeat in the doubles, losing to Michael Kohlmann and Jarkko Nieminen despite taking the first set. Elena Baltacha, partnering Liga Dekmeijere, and Ross Hutchins, partnering Liezel Huber, lost in the women's and mixed doubles respectively.

Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
people70-year-old was most famous for 'You are So Beautiful'
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballLatest score and Twitter updates
Arts and Entertainment
David Hasselhof in Peter Pan
The US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'