Roger Federer looks to make it 17 straight wins in Melbourne when he takes on Taylor Fritz for a place in the fourth round on Friday. The World No.3 has been comfortable this week but the matches will be about to be getting tougher for him. Stefanos Tsitsipas is a possibility in round for while the fast improving Russian Karen Khachanov may be up in the quarter-finals.
Fritz was a junior No.1 and has steadily made progress, hitting the top 50 for the first time late last year. Fritz is much like your traditional tall American player, booming serve and big forehand the leading attributes in his game. He has been making progress at the slams with back-to-back third rounds after he beat Gael Monfils in the second round here. Monfils was wasteful in the 3-6 7-6 6-7 6-7 loss to the American, taking just 1 of the 13 break opportunities he held.
Federer was played tough by Dan Evans in the previous round but was never in much trouble, coming out on top 7-6 7-6 6-3. He did not manage to maintain his unbroken streak, giving up his serve late in the second set, but it was otherwise a fairly routine win. “He’s got a nice slice, defending the court well. He has the variation, which is always a hard thing to play against. He was feeling it today, I thought. He was very sort of cat and mouse a bit. Very interesting.” he said on the match.
Fritz and Federer have played before, going three sets in Stuttgart back in 2016. It was Federer who was victorious on that occasion and a similar outcome should prevail here. It will be just the third time that Fritz plays a top 5 player in his career with the other two losses coming at Wimbledon to Stanislas Wawrinka and Alexander Zverev.
Prediction – Roger Federer in straight sets