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There is a good amount of significance in this match, other than the fact that the winner moves on to the quarterfinals.
Federer, the former world no. 1 and regarded by many as the best to ever play the game, is vying to win his 17th major and prove to the doubting media that his era in tennis is not yet over.
Even if there are still a few more majors to be won by him (and I think there are), Federer is nearing the back-end of his career while his opponent, 19-year-old Tomic, is just cracking the surface on his.
How they got there
Tomic has certainly been part of some thrilling matches in this year's Open. He has easily become the comeback kid.
His Open journey began against no. 22 Fernando Verdasco, where Tomic was down two sets to love. Seeming to channel this energy, Tomic responded by playing great tennis and managed to beat Verdasco in a thrilling five-setter.
Next up was American Sam Querrey, who Tomic beat in four sets.
Another blockbuster match came as Tomic took on no. 13 Alexandr Dogopolov and once again with inspired playing, won the match in five sets.
Federer's road to the round of 16 was much like Nadal's: easy. He beat his first round Russian opponent in straight sets and then was handed a free pass in the second with a walkover. Another dominating victory over Ivo Karlovic finished out Fed's third round as he has yet to drop a set in this year's tournament.
Tomic may be the future, but Federer is still the present.
The Fed Express has been playing sensational tennis so far in 2012, and is in a great position to win his 17th major. Tomic is a talent, no doubt. He is perhaps even the next Federer, but he still has to face and beat one of the best players in the world in order to get there.
In what will be one of the best matches to watch of this tournament, we are likely to see five sets, but this time, Tomic just won't be able to pull out another victory as Federer's game is still as good as it has always been.