Federer Aims Sights to Nishikori Following Berdych Bashing
Having overcome Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in the last round of the Australian Open, legendary Swiss player Roger Federer is rolling back the years. With a vintage performance, finishing the #10 seed in just 90 minutes, Federer showed everyone there’s still magic despite his advancing years. Now, he’s set up a challenge with Kei Nishikori.
Given the fact that his was just his third match since July 2016 at tour level, Federer never missed a beat. With a 5-2 record over the impressive Berdych, Federer is still showing that, for the next generation, there’s still a major gap between the rest and the elite like Federer, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.
Speaking after the win over Berdych, Federer was confident about his chances of continuing further into the Open.
“I didn’t expect this as such, to be honest, especially not this kind of a scoreline,” said Federer. “Especially not having to save any break points, just always rolling on the serve. That was a big surprise to me. I think it was a great mental test for me to see if I could stay in the match – point for point. I was able to do that. That’s where I’m just really happy that I was able to deliver that… It’s wonderful. I’m really happy of course.”
Having played a high-pressure game against Berdych, keeping his opponent deep and unable to get any momentum in the match, Federer dominated the match and took full control in the second set. From there, he was the clear victor, forcing his opponent into an early defeat and an easy enough passage into what could be a more challenging match in the next round.
His next opponent, then, is likely to be bring a more all-round challenge to the court. Defeating #121 ranked Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, Nishikori was finished in just over two hours. He’s not lost to a player outside of the Top 100 since the 2013 US Open, when Daniel Evans put him out at the first round. In a confident and crisp run of form, the Japanese star comes into his battle with the legend in fine fettle. Before the match-up, he was very complementary of one of the best players to take to the court.
“He was playing great tennis today. I watched only a few points. But it’s always great to play Roger. It’s a big challenge for me. I’m just happy to play him because I think we needed him on the tour. I’m happy to see him back 100 per cent.”
At present, Federer holds a 4-2 lead over his new opponent coming into the tournament on the Head2Head series. Admitting that Kai holds one of “the best backhands out there” it’s clear that Federer is wary about complacency coming into this match.
It’s going to be a wonderful match-up, as the Australian Open starts to move closer to the decisive stages where we see who could final be champion.