Roger Federer is into his fifteenth Australian Open quarter-final after shaking off a slow start to defeat Marton Fucsovics 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena.
The Swiss was coming into the match off the back of a four-hour match that ended with a final-set tie-break against John Millman, and he showed signs of sluggishness early doors.
However, the six-time champion regrouped and got to grips with the slow conditions to capitalise on Fucsovics's level dropping to coast through in 2 hours and 11 minutes.
Federer will next face Tennys Sandgren who fought past Fabio Fognini 7-6(5), 7-5, 6-7(2), 6-4 in three hours and 27 minutes.
Quick Match Recap
Fucsovics won the toss and elected to receive. Roger started proceedings with a hold to thirty before the Hungarian matched him to level at 1-1.
A quick hold from Roger moved him up 2-1, and a well-worked point created thirty all in his next return game, but Fucsovics held for 2-2.
That pattern repeated itself as Fucsovics held again from thirty all for 3-3, but in the next game he opened up a 0-40 window. Federer saved two of the break chances with some well-worked points, but the third saw him dragged out wide on a forehand that he could only squash shot into the net.
Fucsovics consolidated the break to love for a 5-3 lead before Roger forced him to serve out the set with a hold to thirty. The former Wimbledon Junior Champion obliged, topping off an impressive set with a comfortable hold to take it 6-4.
With heavy conditions and Federer's serve below average on the speed gun, he needed to find something extra in set two to avoid the match getting away from him.
A love hold got the ball rolling, and a somewhat donated break of serve put the Swiss 2-0 in front.
Consolidating wasn't without problems, but Roger did just enough to get on the front foot to hold for a 3-0 lead.
Game five kicked off with three ridiculous gets at the net from Federer, but after playing a patient point to avert 15-40, a missed forehand gave Fucsovics break back point. Roger saved it and used the serve + forehand combo to hold for 4-1.
The Swiss then found himself 5-1 in front, taking advantage of some less precise serving from Fucsovics and he went on to take the set 6-1.
With momentum on Federer's side, he quickly created 15-40 thanks to a drive backhand down the line then a deft slice. Fucsovics saved the first but then played a disaster of a drop shot when on top in the rally to drop serve.
Roger consolidated to take a 2-0 lead and like set two, and he was able to land the double break as Fucsovics looked deflated.
With Fucsvovics realising he had to dig in to stay in the match, he played some tighter points to create 15-40. A slightly soft backhand spurned the first which allowed Federer to get back on the money to lead 4-0.
A rather lackadaisical game from Federer allowed Fucsovics to hold for 1-4 and he paid the price for slacking off, losing his serve to give the Hungarian a sniff at getting back into the set.
Fortunately for Roger, Fucsvocics was equally as cavalier, making a handful of errors as he dropped serve again for 2-5. Roger served it out to take it 6-2 but had to fend off another breakpoint in the process.
Into set four and Fucsovics dropped serve immediately, undone by a net cord at 30-30. Roger consolidated the break to lead 2-0.
A speedy hold from Roger put the score at 3-1, and the Swiss again had chances to secure a double break but couldn't convert his two chances.
Another routine hold put the score at 4-2, and in game seven Roger got the double break, coming up with a beautiful pass for 15-30 and capping an impressive hawkeye day by stopping play to challenge for a 5-2 lead successfully.
Roger then served it out in the next game, coming through a deuce game to book his spot in the Quarter Finals.
|Aus Open 4R 2020||Marton Fucsovics||Roger Federer|
|1st serve in||47% (42/89)||61% (63/103)|
|Win 1st serve||57% (24/42)||76% (48/63)|
|Win 2nd serve||53% (25/47)||53% (2/40)|
|Breakpoints won||22% (2/9)||58% (7/12)|
|Net points won||36% (8/22)||84% (31/37)|
|Receiving points won||33% (34/103)||44% (39/89)|
|Return unforced errors||0||3|
|Total points won||83||109|
|Fastest serve||193 km/h||200 km/h|
|1st Serve Average||184 km/h||178 km/h|
|2nd serve average||152 km/h||151 km/h|
On Court Interview
Thoughts on the Match
It was a tough start, I thought Marton played clean. I guess it was the rest of the Millman match, that guy gave me a beatdown from the baseline, so maybe it took my confidence away a little bit and I think it just took some time. I was looking to mix it up a little bit more. It gets really slow in the night time, especially when it is cool like this, so I just had to figure it out and I finally found a way, I had a good start to the second set and from then on, things got a little bit easier. Federer speaking to McEnroe in the on court interview.
A top quality win here for Roger, and while it took him a while to get going, once he had the blood pumping, then he played nicely and had far too much in the locker for Fucsovics.
On Twitter, I likened him to a Rolls Royce Jet Engine that needed spooling up in the first set, but once stabilised it was time to apply take-off thrust in set two, enter the cruise in set three and then safely land in set four. And that's pretty much how it panned out 🙂
I thought Fucsovics started very well with some crisp hitting off both wings but when the conditions became even cooler that slowed the ball down immensely and in some ways favoured Federer.
While it made free points hard to come by which makes his 1 + 2 punch less effective, it allowed him to mix it up more, work the angles and bring in the slice and shorter balls to get Fucsovics off his rhythm.
The Hungarian is an excellent mover, but he's more predictable than Millman in his play and never really comes up with anything too out of the norm. That meant Roger was able to get in a groove, anticipate more and build confidence from the baseline.
In that second set, you sense he had a better feel of when to go big on the groundstrokes or spin them in or land them short. Federer also seemed to handle how quickly the balls fluff up the better of the two, changing tact when they were no longer quick through the air. In contrast, Fucsovics was continually berating his racquet and string tension, and that appeared to take his mind off the task at hand.
Stats wise it is all pretty good with seven breaks of serves and some of the volleys he dug up were out of this world. The other big one, and maybe a career first, is Fed was 100% on Hawkeye challenges, four from 4 💥 .
Predictions vs Tennys Sandgren
Next up is one of the earliest victims of cancel culture, Tennys Sandgren, who made his second Quarter Final at the Australian Open by defeating Fabio Fognini in four sets.
It's fair to say Sandgren has come a long way since he lost to the Snickers eating Marcus Willis in a challenger a few years ago 😆 and he's now got five wins against Top 20 opposition at Grand Slams.
Federer has never played the American so it should be an exciting matchup as he's a no-nonsense player who goes for his shots and won't die wondering out there.
I'm a big fan of how he goes about his tennis as he's a brilliant athlete, has a decent serve + forehand and I like his career progression.
He also comes across a very level headed guy in the press despite what you might read on Twitter from woke fans who couldn't articulate why they ‘hate' him even if their lives depended on it.
I'm unsure if Roger has even practised with him before, but I doubt it, so it's all completely new for him on Tuesday. The same goes for Sandgren who will never have faced anyone with Federer's bag of tricks, so I am intrigued to see how it plays out.
I'm not sure if I prefer a day match in quicker conditions where the key for Federer would be his serve. Or another night match where he can look to mix it up and see if Sandgren can handle all his spins and slices. Maybe the latter as Sandgren will never have played a night match in Melbourne before, but I have a feeling it will be a day match.
What did you guys think of the win against Fucsovics? Predictions against Sandgren? Let me know in the comments.