Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal make it into Australian Open fourth round

 

Roger Federer was delighted to have come through an intense clash with big-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic and secure his place in the fourth round of the Australian Open today.

The Swiss lived dangerously in a tight first set before winning 7-6 (8/6) 7-5 6-3. It was a match dominated by big serving with break-point chances few and far between but Federer's greater class off the floor proved decisive as he claimed the opportunities which came his way.

The paucity of rallies meant the 16-time grand slam winner failed to get a true assessment of the state of his game but his ability to perform when it counts remains intact.

He said: "I think it was important to face the pressure of facing a guy like Ivo who can serve his way out of trouble and keeps you on your heels the whole time.

"You're not quite sure what's going to happen. If you miss one or two minutes of the game, the next thing you know, you're stuck in a fifth set with more pressure.

"So I think that was a good thing.

"Obviously there was not much baseline tennis out there. That's why it's hard to judge where my game is at, but I was in control.

"It was a good day at the office."

 



Karlovic, at 6ft 10in, posed the Swiss the usual conundrum of how to break his formidable serve.

And for almost two sets, Federer failed to find the answer.

Indeed, having taken the first set to a tie-break, Karlovic earned a set point at 6-5 only for the world number three to produce a bit of magic to reach a mis-hit volley, which just dropped over the net, and clip a clever lob over his towering opponent.

A wonderful backhand return then handed Federer a set point of his own and he made no mistake to edge in front.

"It was a tough tie-break for me," admitted Federer, "with him having the chance to serve it out at 6-5.

"Thank God he gave me a second serve and a slight chance. He might have had a lucky volley but he has quick reflexes so that can happen. Then running up there I didn't know what to do so I tried the lob even though that's not what you are supposed to do against him.

"I got the angle right and was able to surprise him. It kind of worked and then I had a great return after that and was almost home."

It took Federer until the 25th game of the match to create a break point of his own and when he did it was a set point. Karlovic saved the first but there was no denying the Swiss second time round as a Karlovic volley under pressure drifted long.

It looked a long road back for the Croatian and although he saved three break points at 0-1 in the third, he could not repeat the feat when Federer threatened again at 1-2 and the Swiss subsequently served it out.

"I thought it was going to be at least one tie-break if not two so one is good," Federer added.

"He's a tough man to play against. I am happy I found a way today and I am happy to be through."

Rafael Nadal preceded Federer on Rod Laver Arena and delivered the "complete match" in beating Lukas Lacko.

World number two Nadal was pushed early on by the Slovakian qualifier but once he upped his level, Lacko was powerless to stave off a 6-2 6-4 6-2 defeat in just under two hours.

"It was a really complete match, a really solid one. I'm very happy about my game," said the Spaniard, who has made untroubled progress into the last 16.

"Being in the fourth round without losing a set, it's fantastic news."

There will be no American in the last 16 in Melbourne for the first time in the open era following John Isner's defeat to Feliciano Lopez.

The Spaniard edged out the big-serving 16th seed 6-3 6-7 (3/7) 6-4 6-7 (0/7) 6-1 in almost three and a half hours.

"I think overall the match was great for me," said Lopez.

"You just try to focus when you serve because one break against John is probably the set. And so to play the way I did I have to be happy as he is a really difficult player to play."

Seventh seed Tomas Berdych beat South African Kevin Anderson 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (7/1) 6-1 while 10th seed Nicolas Almagro overcame a strangely out-of-sorts Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 (7/2) 6-2 6-4.

Home favourite Bernard Tomic battled through to a meeting with Federer after outlasting Alexandr Dolgopolov 4-6 7-6 (7/0) 7-6 (8/6) 2-6 6-3.

The Ukrainian had the edge early on in an absorbing match which featured two players with an unconventional style.

But the match swung the Australian's way in two tie-breaks and although Dolgopolov hit back to take it all the way Tomic proved the more consistent in the decider.

PA

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower