Roger Federer continued the defense of his Australian Open title with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over Frenchman Richard Gasquet. The match lasted just under two hours in Rod Laver Arena. The 36-year-old will now play surprise package Marton Fucsovics in the fourth round.
Federer brushes aside Gasquet in set one
Both players settled down pretty comfortably with love holds to begin proceedings. The Swissman then started to take control of the set early on in the fourth game. Ahead 2-1, Federer won the battle of backhands, using it to set up a forehand winner to bring up a break point.
Gasquet then denied his opponent but Federer brought up a second and took advantage of a short second serve from Gasquet, ripping a forehand winner to break for 3-1. He then consolidated with a forehand winner to go 4-1 up in quick time.
Despite being a break down, the Frenchman continued to crunch backhand winners and hit the occasional spectacular shot but all he could do was hold serve and hope Federer would crumble. But the world number two would only get stronger at the end of the set. He held his serve for 52 then raced away to love-40 lead on the Gasquet serve with a trademark backhand.
With a break/set point to his name, Federer missed his first opportunity by rushing a forehand shot down the line. But it was Gasquet who instead crumbled, serving up a double-fault to gift the opening set 6-2. Much to the delight of the crowd.
Gasquet goes down two-sets despite going toe-to-toe with Federer
The set began in the same fashion as the first, both holding their opening service games. Gasquet was struggling on the Swiss' serve by being unable to make inroads. But on his own serve, he was fairing much better in this set, holding in the fourth game losing just the one point.
More holds of serve continued with the second set looking tight. In the seventh game at 30-all, Federer hit a serve out wide to which the 29th seed attempted to challenge, however, Hawkeye had momentarily stopped working enabling him to successfully challenge.
This allowed the second seed to come away unscathed and at the change of ends, Gasquet vented his frustration claiming he would have got the call right. He soon erased that moment from his memory and continued to match Federer in the set, holding to restore parity once more at 4-4.
The next three service games went the same way as the set, with the server dominating. Now a game away from the set, Gasquet began to feel the pressures once more. All square at 30-all, Federer hit another trademark backhand winner to earn a break/set point at 30-40. The Frenchman's backhand then went missing as he produced an error to fall behind two-sets, 7-5.
Gasquet attempts comeback; halted by the Swiss who progresses to the second week
With the match and the crowd on Federer's side, he used that to his advantage to earn two break point chances in the second game. The Swiss went with the more rare drop shot which seemed to work as he forced an error from Gasquet to break early in the set.
He consolidated with an overhead smash to go 3-0 up as he attempted to finish the match quickly. But Gasquet had other ideas. The 31-year-old gained his first game of the set in the fourth game to avoid the bagel.
Two games later, however, a first break point of the entire match went his way with a stunning backhand winner. Federer hit back-to-back aces to save a break point and then earn a game point. It was then Gasquet who would turn the game around and earn a second break point.
This time, Gasquet broke and followed it up with a hold of serve to turn the set around at 4-4. But in typical Federer style, he would deny his opponent any sort of comeback by bringing up a match point on the Frenchman's serve. He would miss his first chance but on his second, would finish the match in style, with a backhand winner.