Roger Federer doesn’t fall before quarterfinals, and Bernard Tomic wasn’t about to change that tradition. Federer didn’t have many problems after the first set, beating the talented 19 year old Australian in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, advancing to his 31st consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal.
It’s an order of big guys for Federer on his way to face Rafael Nadal, the usually most anticipated match in any tournament, which got a boost in 2012 due to Nadal’s comments about Federer’s lack of criticizing against the ATP tour schedule, comments he later retracted from in a way.
Federer beat Karlovic on Friday, handled the home favorite Tomic on Sunday and has a much more difficult opponent coming up in the last 8, facing a man who has beaten him twice in 2009, including in the US Open final, Juan Martin Del Potro.
Against Tomic, despite the expectations of the fans at Melbourne, Federer didn’t really leave the youngster a chance. The usual trading shots back and forth went on in the first set, with Tomic’s aggression paying off, hitting more than a few winners down the line. Federer broke him after 4-4, and that was that. Tomic kept on hitting shots down the line, but started to miss more and more.
It wasn’t a slice fest like Tomic loves, as Federer, never a fan of long points and matches, picked up the pace at every opportunity he had. Tomic did create a few big winners down the stretch, but those came too few and far between, while Federer, with his usual apparent ease and class, dictated nearly every shot and moment of the match.
Later, speaking to Jim Courier, he made the usual pleasing comments to the Melbourne fans, talking about how hard it was facing Tomic and the youngster’s potential, but the truth is, that even at 30, Federer is in much better shape than a 19 year, still growing, 6-4 Australian player.
Del Potro, however, is a different story. Still looking to find consistency and regain his pre injury form, Del Potro has looked well so far in the tournament, beating Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets prior to the Federer match. The way Federer’s playing right now, it doesn’t look like the Argentinian can actually bump him off. But he certainly has the ability to do it, if Federer does get into one of these breakdown modes he’s known to have more and more in recent years.
Like with most of Federer’s matches not involving Djokovic and Nadal, it has a lot more to do with him, his execution, fitness and mood than on what Del Potro can or can’t do on any given day.