Roger Federer’s quest for another Grand Slam title and the first championship of 2013 continued in spectacular fashion with a straight-set victory over Milos Raonic in Melbourne.
Seeking his fifth Australian Open title, the victory puts Federer on track to face a series of rivals, starting with a quarterfinal match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Tsonga and Federer haven’t faced each other since 2011 when they played on three different occasions.
Tsonga won the first two meetings, including the now-legendary comeback at Wimbledon after going down two straight sets to Federer 3-6 and 6-7 (3-7). Tsonga won the next two sets with break points 6-4, 6-4, before serving out the final set 6-4.
But Federer got that monkey off his back weeks later at the US Open, in which he handily defeated Tsonga 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. The Swiss man's dominant play and brilliant serves were fueled by the loss to Tsonga.
When it looked as if Tsonga would make a play to extend the match, Federer ended the game with a volley to the net. One double-fault later, and Federer had his vengeance.
A victory over Tsonga would likely put Federer up against Andy Murray for yet another semifinal clash with the Scot.
Murray is riding high after what appeared to be an effortless win in straight sets over Gilles Simon, who himself was coming off a grueling four-hour match.
Now the reigning US Open champion heads to the quarterfinals to face Jeremy Chardy of France, the last unseeded player left in the tournament.
Murray and Federer last dueled in November 2012 at the ATP World Tour when Federer was able to withstand Murray’s serves and control the pace of the game. Murray was playing catch-up and couldn’t gain any momentum.
Federer briskly ended the match with a backhand across the court that Murray bit on, rushing the net only to find the felt whizzing past him.
Since defeating Federer in 2009, Murray has faced him 12 more times without a victory. Should they meet in Melbourne, Federer will once again have the edge.
And if the stars align and Federer finds himself in the finals of the Australian Open, look for Novak Djokovic to be on the other side of the net.
Djokovic has cemented his name among the sport’s all-time best since he first won the Australian Open in 2011. He has taken the trophy the past two years and is looking to make a repeat appearance in the championship round.
But a finals match against an opponent who many argue to be tennis’ top player wouldn’t be new for Federer. There is still a lot of gas left in his tank, as seen in the ease with which he dismantled Raonic.
Look for Roger to net his fifth Aussie Title in dominant fashion.