Federer, Murray to meet in Q-final
ROGER Federer set up a quarter-final showdown with Andy Murray at the Australian Open after a straight-sets victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga yesterday.
The former world No. 1, coming off a wretched 2013, channelled the halcyon days of his new coach Stefan Edberg, dominating at the net to humble the stunned Frenchman in 112 electrifying minutes under the lights of Rod Laver Arena.
"Tactics worked well and we spoke about it before the match," said Federer, who won 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. "I don't go unprepared into matches like I used to."
Federer's comfortable victory over the 2008 Open finalist set up a rematch of last year's semi-final, which Murray won in five sets. The Swiss great has now reached his 11th consecutive quarter-final at the Australian Open and equalled the record of 41 straight Slam quarters with American Jimmy Connors.
"I thought I played really well tonight, and, clearly, against Jo-Willy, you have to bring your best game, because he dictates play. And I thought I did well dictating a lot of the plays," Federer said.
Earlier in the day, Murray smashed his racket in frustration after dropping his first set of the tournament.
But he still had plenty left in the tank to beat world No. 119 Stephane Robert 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-2.
Despite reaching the last eight, Murray was keen to play down expectations as he continues his comeback from back surgery.
"I said at the start of the tournament: I can't honestly say my expectations are as high as if I'd been playing for the last four months," he said. "It's been a good effort so far to get to the quarter-finals of a Slam this soon after back surgery, so I'm happy with that."
Men's top seed Rafael Nadal is also through after weathering a sustained assault from Japan's Kei Nishikori 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, 7-6 (7/3). He next faces Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov.
The seismic shock of the day came in the women's draw, where an injury-compromised Maria Sharapova crashed out to Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Sharapova blamed her tough workouts against Karin Knapp and Alize Cornet after a left-hip injury flared up when playing against Cibulkova, who was motivated enough to take advantage of the situation.