- Australian Open, Day Six
Fed Express powers through
World No.1 Roger Federer was untroubled by Albert Montanes as he progressed to the fourth round of the Australian Open with a 6-3 6-4 6-4 win on Saturday. The Swiss legend's serve was totally unchallenged, giving him a relatively straightforward victory, although the considerable hurdle of Lleyton Hewitt awaits in the next match.
Federer said he was pleased with his level of play and was feeling "confident" after coming through his first three matches relatively unscathed.
"I'm physically fine and mentally fresh and that's the way you want to go into the second week," he said. "He didn't make many mistakes. I expected him to miss a bit more. I needed to make sure I served well because if I had a hiccup on serve it could have been an even closer game."
One of Federer's biggest threats, 2008 winner Novak Djokovic, dispatched Uzbek underdog Denis Istomin 6-1 6-1 6-2. The third-seed sent down 29 winners in his straight sets romp which lasted just over 90 minutes.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga moved into round four, but was given a stern test by Tommy Haas before clinching a 6-4 3-6 6-1 7-5 success. The Frenchman turned on the style in the opening set, but his level dropped in the second which allowed Haas to level. Tsonga raced through the third set, only to lapse again and he trailed 5-3 in the fourth set. At this point he ramped up the tempo and reeled off four straight games to win the match.
Mikhail Youzhny's wrist injury has handed Lukasz Kubot an unlikely run to the fourth round in just his third career Grand Slam for singles. Normally a doubles specialist, world No.86 Kubot is now arguably the underdog story of the last 16 - but he has the imposing figure of Djokovic standing in his way.
Ninth seed Fernando Verdasco will not be complaining of fatigue, as he eased through after his rival Stefan Koubek retired after losing the first set 6-1. Nicolas Almagro joined his fellow Spaniard Verdasco in the next round with a comfortable 6-4 6-3 6-4 win over Alejandro Falla.
Russian sixth-seed Nikolay Davydenko powered through to the fourth round at the expense of Argentina's Juan Monaco on the back of six aces and 22 winners in 6-0 6-3 6-4 victory. He will now meet ninth-seed Verdasco.
"I am feeling very good and confident now," Davydenko said. "Before, I didn't want to tell you guys, yes I can win and I want to win a Grand Slam. But this level, if I keep it up, maybe I have a chance to win."
Home favourite Lleyton Hewitt moved into the fourth round, but not in the manner he would have wanted. The confirmed battler overwhelmed Marcos Baghdatis 6-0 in the first set and although the Cypriot found some form in the second, he chose to retire on account of an injured shoulder with the score at 4-2 to Hewitt. The Australian's reward is a meeting with top seed Federer.