There had been plenty of mouthing out of the 20-year-old Bernard Tomic heading into his third-round match with Roger Federer. Tomic, a young Australian with a lengthy wingspan and even bigger ego, had spent the better part of two days saying how much he was excited to play Federer and hopefully take down arguably the greatest player of all time.
Before the match, Tomic gathered his inner Rory Sabbatini when he said that "this is the perfect time to play (Federer)," hinting that he felt the icon was losing a step at the ripe tennis age of 31. But if you've watched Federer play these early matches at the Australian Open, you know that he's hitting the ball with as much conviction as he has to start the season in years, and the tone was set in the first game of the match. Federer promptly broke Tomic's serve and basically closed the door on an upset possibility.
Federer went on to win his match 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 and showed exactly why it isn't smart to tout off to a legend.
Now two trains of thought here; I do think that Tomic is a bit too cocky for his record, but I understand that he thinks a lot about his game as he should. That said, I think you have to appreciate someone that comes into matches with the utmost amount of confidence, and while he might just be saying things to say them, at least he doesn't appear scared of someone like Federer when they pair up in Grand Slams.
And Federer showed on Saturday why he is simply the greatest that has ever played. Sure, he's 31, and yes, his chances at winning Grand Slams are slowly fading with the rise of guys like Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, but he still springs around the court and plays to opponent's weaknesses and seems smarter than anyone he is playing in the game.
The opponents will only get tougher as next week rolls around, but the first week has definitely been a positive for Federer and things look up for a possible 18th Grand Slam.
Sloane Stephens advances to fourth round -- It was a matchup of teenagers when Stephens, the young American with plenty of promise, took on Great Britain's Laura Robson on Saturday at the Australian Open.
Stephens got the best of Robson, advancing to the fourth round in a Grand Slam for the second time in her career with a straight-sets win. If Stephens wins her next match and Serena Williams takes care of business, the two American women will meet in the quarterfinals at the Aussie Open.
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