Federer cruises to straight-set win, reaches round four in Australia
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Four-time champion Roger Federer has advanced to the fourth round at the Australian Open for the 13th consecutive year following a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win Saturday over Teymuraz Gabashvili.
The win may be a good omen for the sixth-seeded Federer. The only other time the two have played - in the first round at Wimbledon in 2007, when the Russian also lost in straight sets - Federer went on to win the title.
Federer was back in familiar territory Saturday 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.
He is seeded sixth at this Australian Open, his lowest seeding in more than a decade, 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 is 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.''
Three-time finalist Andy Murray advanced to the fourth round at the Australian Open for the sixth straight year with a 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-2 win over No. 26-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain on Saturday.
Rafael Nadal continued his dominance of Gael Monfils, beating the Frenchman for the 10th time in 12 matches in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 victory in just over two hours to advance to a fourth-round match against Kei Nishikori.
The left-handed Spaniard didn't play here last year during a seven-month injury layoff, and said he was pleased to be back on a night session at Rod Laver Arena.
''It's very emotional for me to have the chance to be back here after missing last year,'' Nadal said. ''I think this is my best match of the tournament so far.''
Murray, playing only his second tournament since minor back surgery in September, was only broken once in a 2-hour, 15-minute match.
Fourth-seeded Murray, who broke some Grand Slam droughts for British men when he won the U.S. Open in 2012 and Wimbledon last year, is still aiming for his first Australian title. He has lost the finals at Melbourne Park in three of the last four years.
He next faces Stefane Robert, a lucky loser from qualifying who made the main draw after Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew with an injury on the second morning of the tournament.
Bulgarian 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-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10).
The 22-year-old, considered one of the up-and-coming players on the men's tour, held his nerve in a long tiebreaker and is starting to live up to expectations.
''First time for me to be in second week, so I guess I'll see you guys next week,'' the No. 22-seeded Dimitrov told the crowd at a packed Margaret Court Arena.
He has been sometimes referred to as the mini Roger Federer, due their similar styles and single-handed backhands. Even Federer, a 17-time Grand Slam winner, told a news conference after his 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win over Teymuraz Gabashvili that everyone in the locker room was watching the Dimitrov-Raonic match.
Dimitrov will next play Roberto Bautista Agut, who followed his upset second-round win over No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 third-round win over No. 27 Benoit Paire.
Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.