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Federer flicks switch to oust Fucsovics

Roger Federer bounced back from a rocky start to subdue Marton Fucsovics 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2 and book his place in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the 15th time in his career.

A somewhat bizarre contest, which for the first half hour began with all the hallmarks of a potential upset, ended as an almost ceremonial procession into the last eight as Fucsovics’ belief and game crumbled away into the Melbourne night.

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26 Jan 20
Marton Fucsovics vs. Roger Federer - Match Highlights (R4) | Australian Open 2020

Roger set to play Tennys

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Federer had begun the match in much the same way as he left off against John Millman on Friday night. Tentative from the back of the court, framing forehands into the crowd, he was easily exposed by a player imbued with belief after impressive wins over young talents Denis Shapovalov and Jannik Sinner earlier in the tournament.

MORE: All the results from Day 7 in Melbourne

“Was a tough start,” said Federer afterwards. “I thought that Marton played clean. It was the rest of the Millman match, he gave me a beatdown from the baseline, so maybe took my confidence away a little bit, and it just took some time. It’s really slow in the night time especially when it’s cool like this. I had to figure it out, finally found a way at the start of the second set and from there, things got a little bit easier.”

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Slow out of the blocks, Federer took the express route to the finish

In the karaoke break between the first and second sets – as the sounds of ‘Sweet Caroline’ circled around the stadium – Federer found himself. Shrugging off the early frailties, the forehands began flowing and suddenly the Swiss was stepping in, deftly picking off volleys and striking his backhand with the confidence of old.

From 3-1 in the second set, he reeled off seven games in a row. Suddenly, any hopes Fucsovics may have harboured of a career-best upset appeared but a distant dream. So scrambled was the Hungarian’s mind that on one break point, he chose to deliberately leave a slowly looping backhand from Federer, only to see it drop in on the line.

By now the momentum was firmly with Federer, and any fears that Fucsovics might mount a fourth set rally were quickly allayed when the Swiss broke yet again at the start of the set as his opponent overcooked another forehand.

‘I had to figure it out, finally found a way at the start of the second set and from there, things got a little bit easier'
Roger Federer

The final run of games had an almost exhibition feel to them. By the end Federer was flicking half volley winners off his toes, comically admonishing himself for errors to the amusement of the crowd, and serve volleying at every opportunity. It was reminiscent of years gone by when the Swiss would be so confident in the early rounds of majors that he would sometimes use the match time to experiment with different facets of his game, in preparation for the stiffer tests to come.

And come they will. With Novak Djokovic likely waiting just a round away in the last four, Federer is finding his game at the right time. But for now a quarterfinal match-up with the unseeded American Tennys Sandgren, a player who seems to save much of his best form for the Australian Open, awaits on Tuesday. Federer and Sandgren have never played. 

“I'm looking forward to that match because I've seen him play a lot, but never played him,” Federer said. 

“You always wonder on TV sometimes it always looks better than it could be in real. All of a sudden you face him, it's going to be this big and this strong.

“I like how he moves. Very explosive. Has a nice first serve as well. He can counter-punch, but also likes to go on the attack. Reminds me a little bit of the olden days when you would do the transition game very good and very quickly. I feel like that's what I've seen a lot of him doing very well.

“I think the coaches have seen him quite a bit. They'll try to get some more info, maybe look into how he's played in the past against maybe players like me. I'm not sure. We'll go from there.”

Roger Federer press conference (4R)

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Roger set to play Tennys

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Roger Federer v Marton Fucsovics match highlights (4R)

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