Roger Federer was supposed to be yesterdays man but,as an awestruck Bernard Tomic discovered to his cost in the Australian Open,the force is still very much with the Swiss master.
Tomic had modelled his game on the Swiss ace and even boldly stated four years ago that he wanted to be world number one,achieve a calendar grand slam and beat Federer. All those goals remained a distant dream on Sunday.
Federer was like a Jedi master teaching a young padawan learner what it takes to master the Force,cajoling Tomic to attack,counter punch,parry,slice,volley and defend while all the time calmly killing off the point to eventually win 6-4 6-2 6-2.
Television cameras captured Tomic exclaiming wow when the world number three produced an exquisite drop shot in the second set and a few games later,the Australian turned to his box and said,I cant do anything.
While Tomic may have felt he was powerless against Federer,the Swiss said the match was a lot tougher than the scoreline suggested. Maybe the score suggested differently,but I thought we had long games,tough points and he actually did really well.
The Swiss,bidding to match Roy Emersons record of five Australian Open titles,will face former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-finals. Its going to be tough against Del Potro. I dont look beyond that because hes coming up strong. He has had a good year,played all the top guys again and pushed us all, Federer said.
Clijsters wins thriller
Built Belgian tough might become a badge of honour for future tennis generations after courageous Kim Clijsters win over Li Na. Defending champion Clijsters crumpled to the court at 3-3 in the first set after her left ankle rolled sickeningly over. Aussie Kim in the final year of her career,had her ankle heavily strapped.
The 28-year-old Belgian eventually closed out the match 4-6 7-6 6-4 after Li Na blew up four match points. However,she conceded the injury had made her think about quitting against Li,whom she beat in the 2011 final.
It definitely crossed my mind,but I knew if I could just let the medication sink in … the pain would go away a little bit and maybe with the adrenaline I could just fly through it, she said.
Clijsters was joined in the quarters by Victoria Azarenka,who beat Iveta Benesova 6-2 6-2. World number one Caroline Wozniacki endured a nervy second set against Jelena Jankovic before clinching a 6-0 7-5 win.
World number two Rafael Nadal,with heavy strapping on knee,ankle and foot,huffed and puffed his way past Lopez with little Spanish sparkle but was happy to go no more than three sets. Memories of his last eight withdrawal against Andy Murray two years ago,and defeat at the hands of David Ferrer last year,still haunt him. Hopefully it wont happen this time, said Nadal after his 6-4 6-4 6-2 win.
In the days only real note of controversy,Czech Berdych was booed off Hisense Arena after a bad tempered 4-6 7-6 7-6 7-6 win over Nicolas Almagro. Berdych refused to shake hands with the Spaniard after he sealed the win because he felt the 10th-seeded Almagro had deliberately blasted a return at his head during the fourth set.
The court is pretty big and you always have some space to put the ball in, Berdych complained. And not even if you are standing three or four metres from the guy (does he need) to hit it straight to your face. This is not how tennis is. Berdychs courtside interview was drowned out by the crowd booing and hissing.
Paes wins,Bhupathi loses
In their first major together as a team,fourth seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna were upset by American pair of Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram 7-5 6-2 in the third round of the mens doubles. However,the new pairing of Leander Paes and Czech Radek Stepanek,though unseeded,pulled off a tight match against third seeds Michael Llodra and Nenad Zimonjic 7-5 7-6 (2).