17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer reached the fourth round of the Australian Open for the 13th consecutive year, where he will now meet French No. 2 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for a spot in the quarter-finals. While Tsonga holds the most recent victory over the Swiss star at last year’s French Open, he is 0-2 against him at the Aussie Open. The Federer vs Tsonga Head to Head stands at 9-4.
On the hunt for his 18th Grand Slam title, Roger Federer cruised into the fourth round in Melbourne without dropping a single set. The world No. 6 defeated Temuraz Gabashvili 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 41 minutes, hitting 6 aces and 35 winners to match his 18 unforced errors. He also had to save 5 break points on his serve but still remained in full control of the match from start to finish.
“I’m happy that from my side I’m winning my matches in straight sets,” said Federer. “It’s been different conditions every match: the heat first and the indoor match and now normal conditions today with a bit of wind. So it’s just good to get through and get a good feel out there and make sure if you’ve got a chance to win your matches easier to do so. That’s what I was able to do today, so I’m pleased.”
While Federer may be through to his 13th consecutive fourth round match in Australia, he has not managed to reach the finals of the event in the past three years, losing each time in the semi-finals. He has a tournament-best record of 71-10, winning the title in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2010.
Next for the Swiss legend is his biggest obstacle so far in the draw: France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The world No. 10 won a fantastic clash with fellow countryman Gilles Simon that lasted one hour and 53 minutes for a final scoreline of 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-2 . The win was impressive as Simon had managed to battle through to the third round with two five-set wins over Daniel Brands and Marin Cilic – even though he was on crutches several days before arriving in Melbourne. Tsonga hit a furious 17 aces and 40 winners to blast his way into a rematch with Federer, which he considers opportunity to get some “revenge” over the legendary player.
“For me it’s the possibility to take revenge because last year I lost against him here in the quarter-finals,” said Tsonga. “It’s a good opportunity for me to play him again. And it’s always nice to play against such a good player. The tournament continues for me and I’m feeling good.”
Of their 13 professional encounters on the tour, Federer holds a 9-4 lead in the head-to-head series. This includes a 2-0 flawless record at the Australian Open, where he defeated Tsonga in the semi-finals in 2010 and in a gruelling five set encounter at last year’s event. Tsonga may hold the most recent win at the 2013 French Open, but the clay court victory does not amount to much in Melbourne, and considering Federer holds a 8-2 lead in hard court encounters against the Frenchman, it is safe to say he holds a slight advantage in Australia.
This match-up will likely boil down to whichever player in in better form. Federer has been solid since arriving in Melbourne and with his current shotmaking, could be a likely threat to Tsonga’s run in the draw. The Frenchman will need to play his best tennis if he intends to upset the 6th seed and make his way into the quarter-final.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Five Sets