Close  

Roger Federer battles into Australian Open third round

/ 02:58 PM January 16, 2019
Roger Federer

Switzerland’s Roger Federer waves as he leaves Rod Laver Arena after defeating Britain’s Daniel Evans in their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Defending champion Roger Federer reached the Australian Open third round for a 20th straight year Wednesday but was made to battle hard by Britain’s Dan Evans before winning 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.

The ageless 20-time Grand Slam champion, who is gunning for a record seventh Melbourne Park title and third in a row, had breezed past Denis Istomin in the first round, but was given a much tougher examination by the world number 189.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I think if I could have pulled away early in the match it might have been different,” said the 37-year-old Swiss master who needed 2hr 35min to get past his 28-year-old opponent.

Evans, whose ranking plummeted from a career-high 41 after he was slapped with a year-long ban for testing positive to cocaine in April 2017, played almost flawless tennis to stave off a set point on his way to forcing a first set tie-break.

FEATURED STORIES

He even had the temerity to lead 5-3 in the breaker before Federer stepped up a gear and reeled off the next four points with a cry of “Come on!” as he secured a hard-fought opening set after exactly one hour.

It was harsh on Evans who had committed only two unforced errors and constantly put the third seed under pressure with his scampering, attacking game and flurry of winners off both wings.

The plucky Evans, who had covered acres of ground and found the lines brilliantly, needed treatment for blisters on both feet before the second set started and immediately was broken.

But he refused to lie down and broke back as Federer served for the set to force another tie-break.

“I thought I might have pulled away midway through the second set,” added Federer. “But I couldn’t, to his credit. He played well.”

The Swiss star hasn’t often needed luck during his unparallelled career but he took advantage of some in the third set to finally ease the pressure.

Holding break point at 2-1, he barely scooped up a half-volley which grabbed the net cord and toppled over forcing Evans to go long.

ADVERTISEMENT

A service game to love followed to put Federer 4-1 up and the brave resistance of Evans was finally broken.

The veteran will next play either France’s Gael Monfils, seeded 30, or American Taylor Fritz in the last 32.

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Australian Open, Roger Federer
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.