Federer moves fuss-free into third round

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16 Jan 2019

Indoors or out, any court will do for Roger Federer, who strolled fuss-free into the Australian Open third round for the 15th straight year on another blazing hot day at Melbourne Park.

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For the first time in a decade, Federer was forced to play outside Rod Laver Arena, but it didn’t bother the Swiss master as he blasted past Slovenian Blaz Kavcic 6-2 6-1 7-6 (7-4) in less than two hours.

Playing in relative luxury under a closed roof at Hisense Arena after the extreme heat policy was enforced earlier on Thursday, Federer crunched 11 aces and broke Kavcic’s serve six times to book a date on Saturday with either Spanish 31st seed Fernando Verdasco or Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili.

“I enjoyed it. It’s not really different to Rod Laver Arena, really,” the sixth seed said.

“Dimensions feel the same. I don’t feel like you need to make an adjustment. The crowds were really nice. Great atmosphere over there.

“Yeah, I was happy playing there.”

World No.1 Rafael Nadal, also enjoying the cooler indoor conditions at Rod Laver Arena, joined Federer in the third round after ending the impressive Open debut of Australian teenage wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Nadal progressed 6-2 6-2 6-4 and next plays 25th seed Gael Monfils, the Frenchman he beat in the Doha final two weeks ago.

French 10th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Japanese 16th seed Kei Nishikori survived more testing conditions to advance.

Tsonga defeated Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 6-4 – also at Hisense Arena, where the roof was closed after the opening set of their match.

Bellucci said he thought the entire contest should have been played indoors, given the forecast of 44 degrees in Melbourne.

The South American qualifier had already toiled away for four matches to scrape into the second round and admitted to being a virtually a spent force even before walking on court.

“When I lost the first set, it was very hard for me to win three more sets so I was just playing because I didn’t want to retire,” Bellucci said.

Tsonga, who will meet either countryman Gilles Simon or Croatian Marin Cilic in the third round, had no such concerns, saying the conditions were more difficult for him in his first-round match on Tuesday.

“Of course it was hot, but today I had good feelings,” he said.

“He played qualies, he had a tough match two days ago and I just play one match … and I’m maybe physically pretty good.”

Nishikori battled Serb Dusan Lajovic on an outside court to win 6-1 6-1 7-6 (7-3) to book a date on Saturday with American Donald Young, who outlasted Lleyton Hewitt’s first-round conqueror Andreas Seppi 6-4 2-6 6-3 4-6 7-5.

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