• Australian Open

Federer rolls into fourth round in Melbourne

ESPN staff
January 18, 2014
Roger Federer saw off Teymuraz Gabashvili in straight sets © Getty Images

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Four-time champion Roger Federer advanced to the fourth round at the Australian Open for the 13th consecutive year following a 6-2 6-2 6-3 win on Saturday over Teymuraz Gabashvili.

He is seeded sixth after a year in which he didn't reach a grand slam final for the first time since 2002. His wife, Mirka, and their twin daughters were in the arena watching against Gabashvili. The couple are expecting another child later in the year, something Federer sees as a good omen.

"The last time [Mirka] was pregnant, I played fairly well, won the French and Wimbledon," he said in reference to 2009. "So lots of pressure there."

Federer was back in familiar territory at Rod Laver Arena. On Thursday, he won his second-round match at the secondary Hisense Arena, the first time in a decade that Federer was not given prime billing at the 15,000-seat Rod Laver, where he had played his previous 63 consecutive Australian Open matches.

"I had to fight to get the breaks, but I'm happy I didn't waste any time," Federer told Eurosport. "I'm happy to be in the fourth round again because Wimbledon and the US Open didn't go so well so this is a bit of a nice change.

"At the end of the season my confidence was a bit up and down with the old racquet, I was double faulting a lot. With the new racquet I feel the benefit of the power, I'm not double faulting and I'm able to mix it up.

"The most important thing of all is when I'm playing and not thinking about it because that can become very crazy in your head if you're thinking about your racquet all the time."

Federer will next meet 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon 7-6(5) 6-4 6-2 in a night match.

Last year, Federer beat Tsonga in the quarter-finals at Melbourne. "For me it's going to be the possibility to have revenge," Tsonga said.

Grigor Dimitrov progressed to the second week at a major for the first time when he converted his fifth match point to beat No. 11 seed Milos Raonic 6-3 3-6 6-4 7-6(10).

Dimitrov, 22, is considered one of the up-and-coming players on the men's tour, as is Raonic. At the end of the match, the two hugged like old friends at the net.

"I think it's a great stepping stone for me to get into that second week," Dimitrov said. "But I have practiced a lot. I have done a lot of homework. So, to me, in a way it's a bit expected."

He sometimes has been referred to as the mini Federer, due their similar styles and single-handed backhands. Even Federer, a 17-time grand slam winner, told a news conference after his win that everyone in the locker room was watching the Dimitrov-Raonic match.

Dimitrov will next play Roberto Bautista Agut, who followed his second-round upset win over Juan Martin del Potro with a 6-2 6-1 6-4 third-round win over Benoit Paire.

In another night match, Kei Nishikori had an easy time beating Donald Young 7-5 6-1 6-0.

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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