Classy Federer too good for Gasquet in Melbourne

Roger Federer was at his graceful best as he outclassed Richard Gasquet 6-2 7-5 6-4 to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open on Saturday.

Defending champion Federer, looking to claim a 20th career grand slam in Melbourne, produced a trademark performance against the 29th seed, who has never been past round four at the tournament.

Federer had already beaten Aljaz Bedene and Jan Lennard-Struff without dropping a set and was again in imperious form against an opponent he has now beaten 17 times and not lost to since 2011.

The evergreen 36-year-old can now look forward to a last-16 meeting against Marton Fucsovics.

The match started at a relentless pace, but Federer soon gained the initiative. An unforced error followed by a weak second serve from Gasquet allowed the Swiss to emphatically hammer home a forehand down the line for the first break.

Federer was at his irrepressible best with Gasquet struggling to land a glove on his opponent, and in game eight a down-the-line backhand of typical effortless grace set the marker for a second break and the set, which was sealed by a limp double fault by the Frenchman.

It was a much tighter contest in the second set, with Gasquet clinically disposing several shots, but break-point opportunities were not forthcoming.

And when he served to stay in the set, Gasquet was undone by some vintage Federer play. A whipped forehand brought up break point and, after relentless pressure, a long forehand saw the Swiss take a two-set lead.

Gasquet had more winners and fewer errors in that set, but was staring down the barrel after surrendering serve at the first opportunity in the third - a costly double fault subsequently punished by a fine drop shot.

To his credit, Gasquet refused to wilt and pounced on a sloppy Federer service game to break back in game seven.

Federer soon reapplied the pressure, though, and wrapped up victory on his second match point with a backhand winner.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Federer [2] bt Gasquet [29] 6-2 7-5 6-4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Federer – 42/30
Gasquet – 27/16

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Federer – 12/1
Gasquet – 3/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Federer – 5/8
Gasquet – 1/2

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Federer – 65
Gasquet – 68

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Federer – 80/42
Gasquet – 67/41

TOTAL POINTS
Federer – 100
Gasquet – 84