Roger Federer set up a 2014 Australian Open quarterfinal showdown with Andy Murray after a terrific performance saw the 32-year-old beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 Monday, Jan. 20. The tournament's official Twitter account shared the results:
Federer got off to a hesitant start, winning the first game to 30 after requiring a trio of second serves. However, the Swiss superstar broke at his first opportunity after a powerful overhead smash gave his French opponent little chance of levelling.
Tsonga appeared to be over-thinking his shots, perhaps due to nerves, but Federer's play was full of crafty, inventive strokes. He nailed two drop shots just after Tsonga returned one wide, waltzing into a 3-0 lead without hassle.
Federer continued to mix up his shots and showed great variety throughout. He intermittently rushed to the net, chipped and sliced to change the length on the ball, giving his rival little hope of stringing momentum together.
With the score at 5-3, Federer blasted a forehand down the line and followed this with a pinpoint backhand on his way to the first set.
Tsonga showed a smidgen of fight at the onset of the second and managed to hold serve during the first game. Federer quickly levelled, once again catching his opponent out with a mixture of shots that were extremely hard to predict. Tsonga showed increased aggression, but it rarely looked enough to quash his foe's creative style.
Federer's defence was called into action with the score at 3-3, a game he sealed with a volley. Tsonga was finally beginning to gain some momentum, hitting a duo of important forehands to make it 5-4.
Predictably, Federer remained calm to tie things up before hitting a fantastic lob over a frustrated Tsonga in the all-important game. This was followed by an ace, and indeed, the second set.
The third began with much of the same, but Tsonga managed to prolong defeat with a handful of confident shots. Federer raced into a 3-1 lead—capped with a ferocious forehand down the line—and never looked likely to capitulate.
Tsonga managed to gain one break point with the score at 4-3 in his opponent's favour, but the spin on Federer's second serve caught him out again, forcing the experienced star to fire into the net. Federer then rustled up an ace to put himself 5-3 up, but Tsonga held serve in the next game.
Very little hope was left for the Frenchman as Federer's chance to complete the rout arrived on serve. That looping opener continued to dictate play, and with three match points to his name, Federer stuttered to his first double fault of the match.
He only needed one more opportunity to capitalise, and after pushing Tsonga out wide, Federer rushed to the net for a simple match winner.
Federer hit 43 winners, seven aces and 21 unforced errors on his way to a memorable performance, per the Australian Open's official website. Tsonga managed 29 winners, eight aces and 28 unforced errors in a display that never really got going.
Looking back on the match, Federer admitted his strategy paid off:
Murray awaits the four-time tournament winner in the next round after beating Stephane Robert 6-1, 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-2. Judging from last year's epic five-set encounter, tennis fans have plenty to look forward to.
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