x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Stanislas Wawrinka sends Andy Roddick out in Melbourne

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic safely through to Australian Open quarter-finals

Roger Federer has now reached the quarter-finals in the last 27 majors.
Roger Federer has now reached the quarter-finals in the last 27 majors.

Andy Roddick was the big-name casualty at the Australian Open as Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic secured their quarter-final places in Melbourne.

Federer, the defending champion, was given a scare by Tommy Robredo before stumbling through 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in a match where the former world No 1 produced 40 unforced errors.

Djokovic, the third seed, had an easier day as he crushed Spain’s  Nicolas Almargo 6-3, 6-4, 6-0.

Djokovic will play Tomas Berdych, who beat Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.

Federer now faces an all-Swiss quarter-final against compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka, Roddick’s nemesis.

Wawrinka, 25, comfortably defeated the American 3-6, 4-6, 4-6.

“I played an unbelievable match, I was ready for a big fight and I’m very happy with how I played tonight,” said Wawrinka, who has known Federer since the pair were schoolboys in Switzerland.

“I wanted to play aggressively, especially on my serve, and it worked. I am excited about playing Roger.

“There was a great atmosphere in here tonight and I hope it will be the same for the quarter-final.”

In seven matches, Wawrinka  has only beaten Federer once. He said: “We know each other pretty well, so we’ll see how it goes.”

But the Fed Express was hardly rattling along against Robredo, the world No 52 who reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne four years ago.

“I was able to get off to a good start but it was always going to be tough,” said Federer, who secured his 27th consecutive last-eight spot in a grand slam to equal Jimmy Connors’ record.

“Robredo makes you work. He moves well and it was extremely hard. I’m sweating bullets and happy the match is over and really excited to be in the next round.”

The last time the 29-year-old, eyeing a fifth title in Melbourne, failed to reach the quarter-finals in a grand slam was at the 2004 French Open.

But Federer admitted he struggled with his return and lacked rhythm as he edged a nervy third set.

With several returns flying off his racket frame, Federer stayed calm in sweltering conditions to wrap up his 10th win in 10 matches against his opponent as a weary Robredo was finally overcome.

In complete contrast, it was a devastating performance by Djokovic, who has now reached the last eight at 13 of his last 15 grand slam events.

With the 2008 champion losing at the quarter-final stage in the last two years at Melbourne Park, the Serb looked in determined mood. He broke as early as the fourth game against Almagro to take the opening set in 31 minutes.

Djokovic, who reached the quarter-finals in all four grand slams last year, said: “That was a higher standard than my previous matches and it’s a big positive.

“I have the game to win a grand slam, I just have to believe in myself and be mentally strong.”