Federer and Murray advance to final 16 at Australian Open
Swiss master defeats Australia's Tomic for 250th grand slam victory
Roger Federer claimed a grand slam milestone as he fought off the challenge of rising local star Bernard Tomic to join Andy Murray in the last 16 at the Australian Open yesterday.
The Swiss 17-time major winner and second seed was pushed before clinching a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 victory over the 43rd-ranked Tomic in almost two hours on Rod Laver Arena.
British third seed Murray earlier marched on at the expense of his Lithuanian practice partner Ricardas Berankis, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5, while former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro was a shock big-name casualty.
Argentina's sixth seed Del Potro crashed out to Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in five sets.
Federer was stretched at times in a compelling match before becoming the first man to win 250 grand slam matches with his victory over Tomic to reach the fourth round in Melbourne for the 12th straight year.
The world No 2, who is chasing his fifth Australian crown, will now face big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, the 13th seed, in the round of 16 tomorrow. It was a much-improved performance from 20-year-old Tomic, who lost starry-eyed to Federer 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 in the fourth round at last year's Australian Open.
"Overall we both played a great match, Bernard has had a great run and he really got the best out of me tonight, so I hope he can keep it up, I really wish him the best," Federer said.
Tomic said: "I was pretty satisfied with my tennis. I was competing out there, trying to hang in there with him. He just came up with good stuff when he really needed it the most."
It was Tomic's second lesson from Federer at Rod Laver Arena, after being trounced in straight sets last year. "You learn something every time you watch him. I learned something tonight as well," he said.
"You use this and you use it in a good way. It's going to make me a better player. I'm going to keep working hard. Point by point, I'm going to get my opportunities this year again and become a better player."
Reigning US Open champion Murray put away Berankis in the day session.
The Scot said: "I've won in straight sets in my first three matches. I'm through to the fourth round not having played my best tennis today. Hopefully I'll improve for the next one."
Murray, who became the first British man to win a grand slam title since Fred Perry in 76 years with last year's win at Flushing Meadows, will next play the winner of an all-French clash between Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils.
In the day's shock result, 36th-ranked Chardy raced to a two sets to love lead, before Del Potro pulled back to level the match only for Chardy to go on and win 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 3-6, 6-3 on Hisense Arena.
Chardy was ecstatic to have beaten the 2009 US Open champion and will now face Italian 21st seed Andreas Seppi in an unexpected match-up.
Seppi upset Croatian 12th seed Marin Cilic in another five-setter.
"I beat Murray last year in Cincinnati, but here it's something more because it's the Australian Open, third round, I play a top player," Chardy said.
"It's a big win for me. Maybe the best of my career. I'm so happy, I enjoyed it."