For the 13th consecutive year, Roger Federer has reached the Round of 16 at the Australian Open, knocking out Russia's Teymuraz Gabashvili in straight sets—6-2, 6-2, 6-3—to advance past the third round at Melbourne Park.
The tournament's official Twitter account confirmed the result:
The comfortable victory sets up a showdown with the winner of No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. No. 18 Gilles Simon next week.
With a brutal heat wave giving way to cooler temperatures inside Rod Laver Arena on Saturday, Federer came out energized and focused from the outset, jumping on the world No. 79 early to take a quick break advantage. Federer's serve was once again dominant in the opening set as he kept his foot on the gas, eventually breaking Gabashvili a second time before securing a one-set-to-love lead just over half an hour into the match.
The No. 6 seed in the men's draw, Federer capitalized on Gabashvili's more predictable second serve in the first set, taking seven of those 10 points en route to winning 50 percent of his total receiving points for the frame.
The second set would feature more of the same, as Gabashvili had no answer for the four-time Australian Open champion's serve. Federer would win 76 percent of his service points in the second set and eight of 10 second-serve return points on his way to another 6-2 triumph.
Even more impressive, Federer would record just four unforced errors again in the second set, giving him eight total through two sets. He would finish with just 18 for the match.
Naturally, Federer's dominant play continued into the third set as he cruised on serve and capitalized on his opportunities in the return game. Although his winner count wasn't overwhelming (35 for the match), shots like this blistering backhand showcased Federer's tremendous form on Day 6:
After the match, Federer wasn't shy about his excitement or what his wife's pregnancy might mean for his prospects in the tournament's second week:
#Federer: "Tough year last yr. Took while to figure out how to feel better, get confidence back. Last 4 or 5 months I've felt like I'm back"— Australian Open (@AustralianOpen) January 18, 2014
Although the competition will only improve moving forward, Federer will be favored against whichever player he faces off against in the Round of 16.
Keep in mind he is 9-4 all time against Tsonga and beat him in five sets in the quarterfinals of this tournament a year ago. Meanwhile, Federer is 4-2 all time against Simon and has beaten the Frenchman in each of their previous four meetings.
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