Roger Federer faces Filip Krajinovic next as he seeks to make a return to the final in Melbourne, having won two straight in 2018 and 2019. It’s an intriguing draw for Federer should he win this but not one that should look too testing for him on his way to the quarter finals. Hubert Hurkacz is the next possible seed while Grigor Dimitrov and Jannik Sinner look likely to be fighting for a spot in the fourth round. “I think, for me, really, the first three rounds are key to get going, to get used to the pressure, stay calm, when to save break point or 30/30 points… or just to stay calm if you’re down a set and a break or whatever it might be.” he said on his mindset coming into this one.
After some slow starts in wins at Wimbledon and the US Open, Federer will be delighted to have got out the blocks quickly in his 6-3 6-2 6-2 win over Steve Johnson. He broke at the first time of asking in each set and was never troubled after saving the only break point he faced for a 3-0 lead in the first set. “I broke early each set and was able to get on a roll, play freely after that. And also, I felt I had margin. Anything I was doing I felt like I had the game under control. That might not be the case in the next round, so I just think I have to be careful.” he said afterwards. “Round-by-round, point-for-point mentality. I know other guys that are playing extremely well right now so I think it’s just important to stay very calm about things right now.”
Krajinovic is 0-3 against Federer during his career, having lost three times in the past two years. The Serbian came a bit of nowhere a few years back, making the final of Paris as a qualifier. There was some expectation he may fall back a bit after that but he has fought hard to maintain a spot inside the top 50, even after injuries ruined much of his 2018. He avoided an embarrassing collapse in his opener against Quentin Halys in round one, winning 7-5 in the decider after being two sets up. If he starts as slow against Federer, this one could be over relatively quickly.
Prediction – Roger Federer in straight sets