17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, earned his 70th win in Melbourne last night, when he dominated Blaz Kavcic to reach the third round of the Australian Open. The Swiss legend will now face Teymuraz Gabashvili, who upset Fernando Verdasco to reach this stage of the event. Federer leads the head-to-head series 1-0, having defeated the Russian at the 2007 Wimbledon Championships.
Federer hit 52 winners and broke the Slovenian 6-times throughout the match, before securing the 6-2, 6-1, 7-6(4). While the Swiss No. 1 thoroughly dominated the opening two sets, Blaz managed to stay aggressive in the third set and force a tiebreak against the former world No. 1. Ultimately, it was not enough to stop Federer achieving his 70th victory in Melbourne in 1 hour and 47 minutes.
“I’m happy on a hot day like this,” said Federer. “It was a good first two sets I thought. I played really aggressive and it worked out. Third set I think he was more consistent. He served better. In the process, it got closer. I’m happy I got it done in three.”
The four-time Australian Open champion is the first player to reach the 70 wins milestone in Melbourne. He lifted the trophy here in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2010. This marks the eighth time that a player has won at least 70 matches at a major championship.
World No. 79, Teymuraz Gabashvili, is through to the third round of the Australian Open for the first time in his professional career, with upset victories over Sergiy Stakhovsky and Fernando Verdasco. The Russian finished in Top 100 for first time since 2010 and 3rd overall, jumping 102 ranking spots to conclude his 2013 season. While he has not taken part in many ATP World Tour events, he managed to qualify for season-ending ATP Challenger Tour Finals in São Paulo, where he reached the semi-finals. Last year he reached the main draw of one Grand Slam event, Wimbledon, where he lost in the opening round against Roberto Bautista Agut. His best record at a Grand Slam event occurred at the 2010 French Open, where he reached the final 16 before losing to Jurgen Melzer.
The two competitors previously met nearly seven years at the Wimbledon championships, where Federer was victorious in straight sets. This match has the potential to be a far more interesting affair. Gabashvili toppled Stakhovsky and Verdasco en route to his third round encounter with Federer and is carrying significant momentum from those two wins, which would give him the confidence to perform against the legend. At the very least, this will be most difficult of Federer’s three opponents at the event so far this year.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Straight Sets