Maria Sharapova

Grand slam winner Maria Sharapova will be a prominent representative of the Russian Olympic team at the London Olympics.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia drinks water during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Olympics - Previews - Day - 1
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia drinks water during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Maria Sharapova of the Russia Olympic tennis team carries her country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Maria Sharapova of the Russia Olympic tennis team carries her country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Maria Sharapova of the Russia Olympic tennis team carries her country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Maria Sharapova of the Russia Olympic tennis team carries her country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a forehand during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Olympics - Previews - Day - 1
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a forehand during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia smiles during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Olympics - Previews - Day - 1
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia smiles during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia serves during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Olympics - Previews - Day - 1
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia serves during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a backhand during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Olympics - Previews - Day - 1
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a backhand during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova at ESPYs
Maria Sharapova at ESPYs
Maria Sharapova at ESPYs
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: Maria Sharapova of Russia returns the ball during her Ladies' singles third round match against Su-Wei Hsieh of Taipei on day five of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 29, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
The Championships - Wimbledon 2012: Day Five
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: Maria Sharapova of Russia returns the ball during her Ladies' singles third round match against Su-Wei Hsieh of Taipei on day five of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 29, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: French Open women's champion Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen near the Eiffel Tower after her victory earlier in the day in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
French Open Women's Champion Maria Sharapova Of Russia Poses Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: French Open women's champion Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen near the Eiffel Tower after her victory earlier in the day in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Russia's Maria Sharapova poses with her trophy in the clockrooms after winning against Italy's Sara Errani the Women's Singles final tennis match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, on June 9, 2012 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / POOL SINDY THOMASSINDY THOMAS/AFP/GettyImages
Russia's Maria Sharapova Poses AFP/Getty Images
Russia's Maria Sharapova poses with her trophy in the clockrooms after winning against Italy's Sara Errani the Women's Singles final tennis match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, on June 9, 2012 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / POOL SINDY THOMASSINDY THOMAS/AFP/GettyImages
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a backhand in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova Of Russia Plays Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a backhand in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia kisses the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen after the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova Of Russia Kisses Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia kisses the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen after the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in her changing room after her women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Sindy Thomas - Pool/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova Of Russia Celebrates Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in her changing room after her women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Sindy Thomas - Pool/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia is sprayed with champagne by her physical trainer Juan Reque (L) and her hitting partner Cecil Mamiit (R) as she makes her way to her changing room after her women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Sindy Thomas - Pool/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova Of Russia Is Sprayed With Champagne By Her Physical Trainer Juan Reque (L) And Her Hitting Partner Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia is sprayed with champagne by her physical trainer Juan Reque (L) and her hitting partner Cecil Mamiit (R) as she makes her way to her changing room after her women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Sindy Thomas - Pool/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a backhand in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova Of Russia Plays Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a backhand in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
TOPSHOTS Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova poses with her trophy in front the Eiffel tower on June 9, 2012 in Paris, after winning the Women's Singles final tennis match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIKPATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/GettyImages
TOPSHOTS Russian Tennis Player Maria Sharapova Poses With Her Trophy In Front The Eiffel Tower On June 9, 2012 In Paris, AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOTS Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova poses with her trophy in front the Eiffel tower on June 9, 2012 in Paris, after winning the Women's Singles final tennis match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIKPATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/GettyImages
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova Of Russia Celebrates With The Coupe Suzanne Lenglen In The Women's Singles Final Against Sara Errani Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Germany's Angelique Kerber hits a backhand return to Russia's Maria Sharapova during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
The Latest: Hsieh beats Radwanska at Australian Open
Germany's Angelique Kerber hits a backhand return to Russia's Maria Sharapova during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Russia's Maria Sharapova hits a backhand return to Germany's Angelique Kerber during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
The Latest: Hsieh beats Radwanska at Australian Open
Russia's Maria Sharapova hits a backhand return to Germany's Angelique Kerber during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Roger Federer eased into the second week of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet that kept the Swiss on course for a 20th grand slam title. The 36-year-old defending champion reached the fourth round of the Melbourne Park tournament for the 16th time by shifting up the gears when required to see off his French opponent in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena. Gasquet played a solid match, studded with his trademark occasional moments of shot-making brilliance, but that was never enough to overcome one of the best players of all time. Watched from the stands by 11-times grand slam champion Laver, second seed Federer sealed the victory with a backhand winner to set up a first career meeting with Hungarian Marton Fucsovics for a place in the quarter-finals. 12:06PM Game, set and match! Federer defeats Gasquet 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 Federer wants this done right here, punching away a volley for 0-30 and looking completely zoned in after a mixed couple of games. Gasquet though is not in the mood to fold, and he levels up at 30-30 with a crosscourt forehand winner. The Frenchman then has a point for 5-5 at 40-30, but Federer saves the game point with a heavy-topspin forehand. Federer then moves to match point with a trademark smash following an angled backhand crosscourt. Can Gasquet keep this match alive? Yes he can! A beautiful backhand winner up the line has us back at deuce. Gasquet then moves up to game point again, but Federer saves it with a sensational inside-in forehand return winner. Federer then earns a second match point with a backhand winner up the line of his own. And this time he takes it! Gasquet does well to put a volley into the corner, but Federer chases it down and flicks away another backhand winner up the line. After 1hr 59 min, Federer is through to the fourth round. .@RogerFederer is through to the 4R where he will face Marton #Fucsovics! ������ #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/d5SBpkoTuU— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:57AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Back to business for Federer as he holds to love. Gasquet will serve to stay in the match. 11:55AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Federer has snapped back to life this game, crunching a deep forehand return for 30-30. But Fed then misses his next two returns, and Gasquet holds. Three games in a row for the Frenchman. 11:51AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) - Gasquet breaks back Well what have we here? Federer wastes a couple of game points, and all of a sudden Gasquet is up break point at advantage after nailing a beautiful backhand winner up the line. It's his first break point of the match. What does Federer do in response? Serves an ace down the T of course. But Fed then sprays a forehand well wide, and Gasquet has a second break point chance. And this time he takes it, as Federer nets a backhand! Federer's level has just dropped a bit in the last few minutes. He looks a bit frustrated at some of the flashy shots his opponent is producing. Federer is broken for only the second time this tournament. Lovely stuff from Richard Gasquet ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ax08zpy49j— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 20, 2018 11:42AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) A brilliant Gasquet backhand half-volley is the highlight of a solid hold to 15. 11:39AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) How's this for a stat? Federer has got 85 per cent of his first serves in. Unbelievable rhythm from the 19-time grand slam champion. He's taken to deuce for the first time in the match here, but hits a brilliant inside-in forehand winner to complete the hold. Federer is just two games away from the fourth round. 11:35AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet stops the run of games against him at five, sealing a hold to 15 with an ace down the T. 11:31AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 3-0 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple of Federer errors let Gasquet into the game at 30-30, but a huge serve and a clincial smash seal another hold. Five straight games for Federer. 11:28AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 2-0 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks A double fault hands Federer what feels like two virtual match points at 15-40. Fed takes the first one with a clever drop shot. The fourth round is in sight for the reigning Australian Open champion. 11:24AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) You'd expect Federer to put his foot on the gas from here and go haring after the finish line, even though Gasquet is battling manfully. Fed holds to 15 to kick off the third set. 11:19AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and second set Federer Danger signs for Gasquet here. A brilliant forehand return winner on the stretch takes Federer to within two points of the first set at 15-30. And he gets to within one point after a screaming backhand pass down the line takes Federer to 30-40. Gasquet sprays a backhand long, and it's second set Federer! In typical style, Federer steps it up when he needs to, and establishes a two-set lead with his first break point of the set. It was these kinds of gems that earned @RogerFederer the second set �� He leads 6-2 7-5.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VshCRXlDj4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:13AM Federer 6-2, 6-5 Gasquet* (*next server) First "come on!" of the day from Federer, after he flicks away another sensational backhand winner crosscourt for 40-0. He eventually holds to 30, and Gasquet will serve to stay in the set for a second time. The single-handed backhand is a work of art... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/9I30il8m3c— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:10AM Federer* 6-2, 5-5 Gasquet (*next server) Impressive serving again from Gasquet, who's playing really well today. He holds to 15, and we remain on serve in the first set. 11:07AM Federer 6-2, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer is annoyed with himself when he misses a backhand for 30-15, so he quickly corrects things with a second serve ace. Gasquet then sends a backhand wide - game Federer. Gasquet will serve to stay in the second set. 11:05AM Federer* 6-2, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet does well to shrug that disappointment aside and hold to 30. It gets a little tense after Federer reels him back from 40-0 to 40-30, but a forehand winner up the line wraps up the game. No break points for either player this set. .@RogerFederer doing Roger Federer things��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/faK8vLYS4B— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:01AM Federer 6-2, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) That's arguably the backhand of the match, and it comes from Gasquet. He hits it from the forehand corner so it's technically an inside-out forehand, and it flies beyond Federer for 30-30. There's then a crazy moment as Gasquet challenges a Federer serve but is told Hawk-eye is not working. Gasquet is furious. The serve is called as an ace, and after Gasquet misses his return on the next point, it's game Federer. That's tough on the Frenchman - the serve may well have been in, but it's maddening not knowing. .@RichardGasquet1 starting to find his groove... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DUkxbJZi3a— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:57AM Federer* 6-2, 3-3 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent resolve from Gasquet. He's down 15-30 but lands two excellent serves and then knifes away a volley to hold to 30. 10:52AM Federer 6-2, 3-2 Gasquet* (*next server) No let up from Federer. He misses a couple of forehands in the game, but clever variety on the serve helps him to a hold to 30 - secured with an elegant drop volley. 10:49AM Federer* 6-2, 2-2 Gasquet (*next server) Credit Gasquet, he's continuing to chip away at this. An ace down the T secures a hold to 15. 10:45AM Federer 6-2, 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A double fault and a missed Federer volley give Gasquet a glimmer of a break at 30-30. But sure enough Fed then slams the door shut with a masterful drop shot and a service winner. Hard to see what Gasquet can do to stem the tide here - he just doesn't have the weapons to really hurt Federer. Credit: Getty Images 10:41AM Federer* 6-2, 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few charitable errors from Federer help Gasquet to a hold to 15. 10:38AM Federer 6-2, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) By winning that set, Federer has now won the last 20 sets that these two have played against each other. And a hold to 30 here maintains Fed's momentum at the start of the second. 10:35AM Federer* 6-2 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and first set Federer Wow, Federer storms to 0-30 with a gorgeous backhand winner up the line. The low camera at Melbourne Park caught Federer's perfect technique beautifully. Federer then hits a replica backhand winner on the next point to open up three set points at 0-40. Federer seems to be relishing the challenge of proving that his backhand is the fairest of them all. Gasquet saves the first set point, but he double faults on the second to gift his opponent the first set. Federer a set to the good after 27 minutes. Vintage @RogerFederer emerges from the single-handed backhand-off ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IZzP3ksjqn— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:30AM Federer 5-2 Gasquet* (*next server) Lovely stuff again from both men this game, with Gasquet more than playing his part. He produces arguably the shot of the match so far with a no-look flicked forehand pass after chasing down a drop volley. Federer continues to motor on though, and he holds with an ace out wide. Gasquet will serve to keep this entertaining first set alive. .@RichardGasquet1 outwits @RogerFederer with a cleverly disguised winner ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VbC2QfW7gK— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:27AM Federer* 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent service game from Gasquet as he holds to 15 with a service winner. Gasquet has got 84 per cent of his first serves in so far. 10:22AM Federer 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) Gasquet is actually playing really well here, and he produces a sumptuous backhand crosscourt pass for 15-30. Federer though has just been a little too good, reeling off the next three points to hold to 30. Fun match so far. Credit: Switzerland's Roger Federer hits a return against France's Richard Gasquet during their men's singles third round match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2018 10:19AM Federer* 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks Gasquet produces the first breathtaking single-handed backhand of the match, finding a crazily acute angle that spins so far wide that Federer is forced to hit his next shot outside of the tramlines. It makes the score 15-15, and though Gasquet then moves to 30-15, Federer comes up with a brilliant backhand of his own followed by a forehand winner to move up to 30-40 and break point. Gasquet saves it with the lesser-spotted backhand drive volley, but Federer forces another one moments later and takes this one with an inside-in forehand return winner. Genius. Class ��@RogerFederer with an early break in the first set. Leads 3-1.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aeSfrj7Bh2— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:12AM Federer 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple more errors from Federer this game, but he does enough to hold to 30. Gasquet trying to be positive with his returns when he can get a racket to the ball. 10:09AM Federer* 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few loose shots from Federer help Gasquet to a love hold of his own. 10:08AM Federer 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer kicks things off with a love hold. Expect a few more of these today. The game lasted just over a minute. 10:05AM Ready? Play Federer serving first. 10:02AM Players are out They're knocking up, and this exhibition match will be underway soon. It's a Super Saturday special on @RodLaverArena!@RogerFederer and @RichardGasquet1 set to clash in the battle of the beautiful backhands! ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/oTCzEpY9wB— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 9:48AM Next up Angelique Kerber has just thumped Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes. Roger Federer and Richard Gasquet are next on the Rod Laver Arena. 7:19AM Preamble Morning everyone, Welcome to the battle of the single-handed backhands, as 19-time grand slam champion Roger Federer takes on the 29th seed and former world No 7 Richard Gasquet. It's difficult to believe it now but when Gasquet stormed onto the ATP Tour as a teenager more than a decade ago, there was widespread belief that he was Federer's heir apparent. The beautiful shotmaking - especially that picture-book single-handed backhand - marked Gasquet out as a special talent, and he actually beat Federer the first time they met, in a three-set thriller in Monte Carlo. Gasquet was just 18 years old at the time, and had the look of a star in the making. Since then though, Gasquet has never quite kicked on, failing to reach a grand slam final and developing a reputation as a bit of a choker. His record against Federer has headed similarly south, with the Frenchman winning just one of the subsequent 17 meetings between the two since that Monte Carlo success. The problem Gasquet has when he plays Federer is that while they have similar styles, Federer just does everything that bit better. It's hard to really see where Gasquet can hurt his opponent today, especially given Federer has won the last 19 sets the two have played against one another. Richard Gasquet is known for his elegant single-handed backhand Credit: AP At the very least though, we should be in for a enjoyable exhibition of the dying art of single-handed backhands. After his second-round win on Thursday against Jan-Lennard Struff, Federer himself said he was looking forward to exchanging backhands with the similarly elegant Gasquet. "I love playing against one-handed guys because we need to keep it alive for as long as possible," Federer said. "I don't think I'll be teaching my kids to play like that." So enjoy these beautiful strokes while you can seems to be the message. Hopefully we'll be in for an entertaining match, but I'm expecting Federer to come through easily in straight sets.
Roger Federer reaches Australian Open fourth round for 16th time in career by ousting Richard Gasquet
Roger Federer eased into the second week of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet that kept the Swiss on course for a 20th grand slam title. The 36-year-old defending champion reached the fourth round of the Melbourne Park tournament for the 16th time by shifting up the gears when required to see off his French opponent in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena. Gasquet played a solid match, studded with his trademark occasional moments of shot-making brilliance, but that was never enough to overcome one of the best players of all time. Watched from the stands by 11-times grand slam champion Laver, second seed Federer sealed the victory with a backhand winner to set up a first career meeting with Hungarian Marton Fucsovics for a place in the quarter-finals. 12:06PM Game, set and match! Federer defeats Gasquet 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 Federer wants this done right here, punching away a volley for 0-30 and looking completely zoned in after a mixed couple of games. Gasquet though is not in the mood to fold, and he levels up at 30-30 with a crosscourt forehand winner. The Frenchman then has a point for 5-5 at 40-30, but Federer saves the game point with a heavy-topspin forehand. Federer then moves to match point with a trademark smash following an angled backhand crosscourt. Can Gasquet keep this match alive? Yes he can! A beautiful backhand winner up the line has us back at deuce. Gasquet then moves up to game point again, but Federer saves it with a sensational inside-in forehand return winner. Federer then earns a second match point with a backhand winner up the line of his own. And this time he takes it! Gasquet does well to put a volley into the corner, but Federer chases it down and flicks away another backhand winner up the line. After 1hr 59 min, Federer is through to the fourth round. .@RogerFederer is through to the 4R where he will face Marton #Fucsovics! ������ #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/d5SBpkoTuU— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:57AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Back to business for Federer as he holds to love. Gasquet will serve to stay in the match. 11:55AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Federer has snapped back to life this game, crunching a deep forehand return for 30-30. But Fed then misses his next two returns, and Gasquet holds. Three games in a row for the Frenchman. 11:51AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) - Gasquet breaks back Well what have we here? Federer wastes a couple of game points, and all of a sudden Gasquet is up break point at advantage after nailing a beautiful backhand winner up the line. It's his first break point of the match. What does Federer do in response? Serves an ace down the T of course. But Fed then sprays a forehand well wide, and Gasquet has a second break point chance. And this time he takes it, as Federer nets a backhand! Federer's level has just dropped a bit in the last few minutes. He looks a bit frustrated at some of the flashy shots his opponent is producing. Federer is broken for only the second time this tournament. Lovely stuff from Richard Gasquet ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ax08zpy49j— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 20, 2018 11:42AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) A brilliant Gasquet backhand half-volley is the highlight of a solid hold to 15. 11:39AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) How's this for a stat? Federer has got 85 per cent of his first serves in. Unbelievable rhythm from the 19-time grand slam champion. He's taken to deuce for the first time in the match here, but hits a brilliant inside-in forehand winner to complete the hold. Federer is just two games away from the fourth round. 11:35AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet stops the run of games against him at five, sealing a hold to 15 with an ace down the T. 11:31AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 3-0 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple of Federer errors let Gasquet into the game at 30-30, but a huge serve and a clincial smash seal another hold. Five straight games for Federer. 11:28AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 2-0 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks A double fault hands Federer what feels like two virtual match points at 15-40. Fed takes the first one with a clever drop shot. The fourth round is in sight for the reigning Australian Open champion. 11:24AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) You'd expect Federer to put his foot on the gas from here and go haring after the finish line, even though Gasquet is battling manfully. Fed holds to 15 to kick off the third set. 11:19AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and second set Federer Danger signs for Gasquet here. A brilliant forehand return winner on the stretch takes Federer to within two points of the first set at 15-30. And he gets to within one point after a screaming backhand pass down the line takes Federer to 30-40. Gasquet sprays a backhand long, and it's second set Federer! In typical style, Federer steps it up when he needs to, and establishes a two-set lead with his first break point of the set. It was these kinds of gems that earned @RogerFederer the second set �� He leads 6-2 7-5.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VshCRXlDj4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:13AM Federer 6-2, 6-5 Gasquet* (*next server) First "come on!" of the day from Federer, after he flicks away another sensational backhand winner crosscourt for 40-0. He eventually holds to 30, and Gasquet will serve to stay in the set for a second time. The single-handed backhand is a work of art... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/9I30il8m3c— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:10AM Federer* 6-2, 5-5 Gasquet (*next server) Impressive serving again from Gasquet, who's playing really well today. He holds to 15, and we remain on serve in the first set. 11:07AM Federer 6-2, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer is annoyed with himself when he misses a backhand for 30-15, so he quickly corrects things with a second serve ace. Gasquet then sends a backhand wide - game Federer. Gasquet will serve to stay in the second set. 11:05AM Federer* 6-2, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet does well to shrug that disappointment aside and hold to 30. It gets a little tense after Federer reels him back from 40-0 to 40-30, but a forehand winner up the line wraps up the game. No break points for either player this set. .@RogerFederer doing Roger Federer things��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/faK8vLYS4B— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:01AM Federer 6-2, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) That's arguably the backhand of the match, and it comes from Gasquet. He hits it from the forehand corner so it's technically an inside-out forehand, and it flies beyond Federer for 30-30. There's then a crazy moment as Gasquet challenges a Federer serve but is told Hawk-eye is not working. Gasquet is furious. The serve is called as an ace, and after Gasquet misses his return on the next point, it's game Federer. That's tough on the Frenchman - the serve may well have been in, but it's maddening not knowing. .@RichardGasquet1 starting to find his groove... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DUkxbJZi3a— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:57AM Federer* 6-2, 3-3 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent resolve from Gasquet. He's down 15-30 but lands two excellent serves and then knifes away a volley to hold to 30. 10:52AM Federer 6-2, 3-2 Gasquet* (*next server) No let up from Federer. He misses a couple of forehands in the game, but clever variety on the serve helps him to a hold to 30 - secured with an elegant drop volley. 10:49AM Federer* 6-2, 2-2 Gasquet (*next server) Credit Gasquet, he's continuing to chip away at this. An ace down the T secures a hold to 15. 10:45AM Federer 6-2, 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A double fault and a missed Federer volley give Gasquet a glimmer of a break at 30-30. But sure enough Fed then slams the door shut with a masterful drop shot and a service winner. Hard to see what Gasquet can do to stem the tide here - he just doesn't have the weapons to really hurt Federer. Credit: Getty Images 10:41AM Federer* 6-2, 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few charitable errors from Federer help Gasquet to a hold to 15. 10:38AM Federer 6-2, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) By winning that set, Federer has now won the last 20 sets that these two have played against each other. And a hold to 30 here maintains Fed's momentum at the start of the second. 10:35AM Federer* 6-2 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and first set Federer Wow, Federer storms to 0-30 with a gorgeous backhand winner up the line. The low camera at Melbourne Park caught Federer's perfect technique beautifully. Federer then hits a replica backhand winner on the next point to open up three set points at 0-40. Federer seems to be relishing the challenge of proving that his backhand is the fairest of them all. Gasquet saves the first set point, but he double faults on the second to gift his opponent the first set. Federer a set to the good after 27 minutes. Vintage @RogerFederer emerges from the single-handed backhand-off ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IZzP3ksjqn— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:30AM Federer 5-2 Gasquet* (*next server) Lovely stuff again from both men this game, with Gasquet more than playing his part. He produces arguably the shot of the match so far with a no-look flicked forehand pass after chasing down a drop volley. Federer continues to motor on though, and he holds with an ace out wide. Gasquet will serve to keep this entertaining first set alive. .@RichardGasquet1 outwits @RogerFederer with a cleverly disguised winner ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VbC2QfW7gK— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:27AM Federer* 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent service game from Gasquet as he holds to 15 with a service winner. Gasquet has got 84 per cent of his first serves in so far. 10:22AM Federer 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) Gasquet is actually playing really well here, and he produces a sumptuous backhand crosscourt pass for 15-30. Federer though has just been a little too good, reeling off the next three points to hold to 30. Fun match so far. Credit: Switzerland's Roger Federer hits a return against France's Richard Gasquet during their men's singles third round match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2018 10:19AM Federer* 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks Gasquet produces the first breathtaking single-handed backhand of the match, finding a crazily acute angle that spins so far wide that Federer is forced to hit his next shot outside of the tramlines. It makes the score 15-15, and though Gasquet then moves to 30-15, Federer comes up with a brilliant backhand of his own followed by a forehand winner to move up to 30-40 and break point. Gasquet saves it with the lesser-spotted backhand drive volley, but Federer forces another one moments later and takes this one with an inside-in forehand return winner. Genius. Class ��@RogerFederer with an early break in the first set. Leads 3-1.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aeSfrj7Bh2— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:12AM Federer 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple more errors from Federer this game, but he does enough to hold to 30. Gasquet trying to be positive with his returns when he can get a racket to the ball. 10:09AM Federer* 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few loose shots from Federer help Gasquet to a love hold of his own. 10:08AM Federer 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer kicks things off with a love hold. Expect a few more of these today. The game lasted just over a minute. 10:05AM Ready? Play Federer serving first. 10:02AM Players are out They're knocking up, and this exhibition match will be underway soon. It's a Super Saturday special on @RodLaverArena!@RogerFederer and @RichardGasquet1 set to clash in the battle of the beautiful backhands! ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/oTCzEpY9wB— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 9:48AM Next up Angelique Kerber has just thumped Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes. Roger Federer and Richard Gasquet are next on the Rod Laver Arena. 7:19AM Preamble Morning everyone, Welcome to the battle of the single-handed backhands, as 19-time grand slam champion Roger Federer takes on the 29th seed and former world No 7 Richard Gasquet. It's difficult to believe it now but when Gasquet stormed onto the ATP Tour as a teenager more than a decade ago, there was widespread belief that he was Federer's heir apparent. The beautiful shotmaking - especially that picture-book single-handed backhand - marked Gasquet out as a special talent, and he actually beat Federer the first time they met, in a three-set thriller in Monte Carlo. Gasquet was just 18 years old at the time, and had the look of a star in the making. Since then though, Gasquet has never quite kicked on, failing to reach a grand slam final and developing a reputation as a bit of a choker. His record against Federer has headed similarly south, with the Frenchman winning just one of the subsequent 17 meetings between the two since that Monte Carlo success. The problem Gasquet has when he plays Federer is that while they have similar styles, Federer just does everything that bit better. It's hard to really see where Gasquet can hurt his opponent today, especially given Federer has won the last 19 sets the two have played against one another. Richard Gasquet is known for his elegant single-handed backhand Credit: AP At the very least though, we should be in for a enjoyable exhibition of the dying art of single-handed backhands. After his second-round win on Thursday against Jan-Lennard Struff, Federer himself said he was looking forward to exchanging backhands with the similarly elegant Gasquet. "I love playing against one-handed guys because we need to keep it alive for as long as possible," Federer said. "I don't think I'll be teaching my kids to play like that." So enjoy these beautiful strokes while you can seems to be the message. Hopefully we'll be in for an entertaining match, but I'm expecting Federer to come through easily in straight sets.
Roger Federer eased into the second week of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet that kept the Swiss on course for a 20th grand slam title. The 36-year-old defending champion reached the fourth round of the Melbourne Park tournament for the 16th time by shifting up the gears when required to see off his French opponent in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena. Gasquet played a solid match, studded with his trademark occasional moments of shot-making brilliance, but that was never enough to overcome one of the best players of all time. Watched from the stands by 11-times grand slam champion Laver, second seed Federer sealed the victory with a backhand winner to set up a first career meeting with Hungarian Marton Fucsovics for a place in the quarter-finals. 12:06PM Game, set and match! Federer defeats Gasquet 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 Federer wants this done right here, punching away a volley for 0-30 and looking completely zoned in after a mixed couple of games. Gasquet though is not in the mood to fold, and he levels up at 30-30 with a crosscourt forehand winner. The Frenchman then has a point for 5-5 at 40-30, but Federer saves the game point with a heavy-topspin forehand. Federer then moves to match point with a trademark smash following an angled backhand crosscourt. Can Gasquet keep this match alive? Yes he can! A beautiful backhand winner up the line has us back at deuce. Gasquet then moves up to game point again, but Federer saves it with a sensational inside-in forehand return winner. Federer then earns a second match point with a backhand winner up the line of his own. And this time he takes it! Gasquet does well to put a volley into the corner, but Federer chases it down and flicks away another backhand winner up the line. After 1hr 59 min, Federer is through to the fourth round. .@RogerFederer is through to the 4R where he will face Marton #Fucsovics! ������ #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/d5SBpkoTuU— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:57AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Back to business for Federer as he holds to love. Gasquet will serve to stay in the match. 11:55AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Federer has snapped back to life this game, crunching a deep forehand return for 30-30. But Fed then misses his next two returns, and Gasquet holds. Three games in a row for the Frenchman. 11:51AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) - Gasquet breaks back Well what have we here? Federer wastes a couple of game points, and all of a sudden Gasquet is up break point at advantage after nailing a beautiful backhand winner up the line. It's his first break point of the match. What does Federer do in response? Serves an ace down the T of course. But Fed then sprays a forehand well wide, and Gasquet has a second break point chance. And this time he takes it, as Federer nets a backhand! Federer's level has just dropped a bit in the last few minutes. He looks a bit frustrated at some of the flashy shots his opponent is producing. Federer is broken for only the second time this tournament. Lovely stuff from Richard Gasquet ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ax08zpy49j— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 20, 2018 11:42AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) A brilliant Gasquet backhand half-volley is the highlight of a solid hold to 15. 11:39AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) How's this for a stat? Federer has got 85 per cent of his first serves in. Unbelievable rhythm from the 19-time grand slam champion. He's taken to deuce for the first time in the match here, but hits a brilliant inside-in forehand winner to complete the hold. Federer is just two games away from the fourth round. 11:35AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet stops the run of games against him at five, sealing a hold to 15 with an ace down the T. 11:31AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 3-0 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple of Federer errors let Gasquet into the game at 30-30, but a huge serve and a clincial smash seal another hold. Five straight games for Federer. 11:28AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 2-0 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks A double fault hands Federer what feels like two virtual match points at 15-40. Fed takes the first one with a clever drop shot. The fourth round is in sight for the reigning Australian Open champion. 11:24AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) You'd expect Federer to put his foot on the gas from here and go haring after the finish line, even though Gasquet is battling manfully. Fed holds to 15 to kick off the third set. 11:19AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and second set Federer Danger signs for Gasquet here. A brilliant forehand return winner on the stretch takes Federer to within two points of the first set at 15-30. And he gets to within one point after a screaming backhand pass down the line takes Federer to 30-40. Gasquet sprays a backhand long, and it's second set Federer! In typical style, Federer steps it up when he needs to, and establishes a two-set lead with his first break point of the set. It was these kinds of gems that earned @RogerFederer the second set �� He leads 6-2 7-5.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VshCRXlDj4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:13AM Federer 6-2, 6-5 Gasquet* (*next server) First "come on!" of the day from Federer, after he flicks away another sensational backhand winner crosscourt for 40-0. He eventually holds to 30, and Gasquet will serve to stay in the set for a second time. The single-handed backhand is a work of art... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/9I30il8m3c— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:10AM Federer* 6-2, 5-5 Gasquet (*next server) Impressive serving again from Gasquet, who's playing really well today. He holds to 15, and we remain on serve in the first set. 11:07AM Federer 6-2, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer is annoyed with himself when he misses a backhand for 30-15, so he quickly corrects things with a second serve ace. Gasquet then sends a backhand wide - game Federer. Gasquet will serve to stay in the second set. 11:05AM Federer* 6-2, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet does well to shrug that disappointment aside and hold to 30. It gets a little tense after Federer reels him back from 40-0 to 40-30, but a forehand winner up the line wraps up the game. No break points for either player this set. .@RogerFederer doing Roger Federer things��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/faK8vLYS4B— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:01AM Federer 6-2, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) That's arguably the backhand of the match, and it comes from Gasquet. He hits it from the forehand corner so it's technically an inside-out forehand, and it flies beyond Federer for 30-30. There's then a crazy moment as Gasquet challenges a Federer serve but is told Hawk-eye is not working. Gasquet is furious. The serve is called as an ace, and after Gasquet misses his return on the next point, it's game Federer. That's tough on the Frenchman - the serve may well have been in, but it's maddening not knowing. .@RichardGasquet1 starting to find his groove... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DUkxbJZi3a— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:57AM Federer* 6-2, 3-3 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent resolve from Gasquet. He's down 15-30 but lands two excellent serves and then knifes away a volley to hold to 30. 10:52AM Federer 6-2, 3-2 Gasquet* (*next server) No let up from Federer. He misses a couple of forehands in the game, but clever variety on the serve helps him to a hold to 30 - secured with an elegant drop volley. 10:49AM Federer* 6-2, 2-2 Gasquet (*next server) Credit Gasquet, he's continuing to chip away at this. An ace down the T secures a hold to 15. 10:45AM Federer 6-2, 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A double fault and a missed Federer volley give Gasquet a glimmer of a break at 30-30. But sure enough Fed then slams the door shut with a masterful drop shot and a service winner. Hard to see what Gasquet can do to stem the tide here - he just doesn't have the weapons to really hurt Federer. Credit: Getty Images 10:41AM Federer* 6-2, 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few charitable errors from Federer help Gasquet to a hold to 15. 10:38AM Federer 6-2, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) By winning that set, Federer has now won the last 20 sets that these two have played against each other. And a hold to 30 here maintains Fed's momentum at the start of the second. 10:35AM Federer* 6-2 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and first set Federer Wow, Federer storms to 0-30 with a gorgeous backhand winner up the line. The low camera at Melbourne Park caught Federer's perfect technique beautifully. Federer then hits a replica backhand winner on the next point to open up three set points at 0-40. Federer seems to be relishing the challenge of proving that his backhand is the fairest of them all. Gasquet saves the first set point, but he double faults on the second to gift his opponent the first set. Federer a set to the good after 27 minutes. Vintage @RogerFederer emerges from the single-handed backhand-off ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IZzP3ksjqn— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:30AM Federer 5-2 Gasquet* (*next server) Lovely stuff again from both men this game, with Gasquet more than playing his part. He produces arguably the shot of the match so far with a no-look flicked forehand pass after chasing down a drop volley. Federer continues to motor on though, and he holds with an ace out wide. Gasquet will serve to keep this entertaining first set alive. .@RichardGasquet1 outwits @RogerFederer with a cleverly disguised winner ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VbC2QfW7gK— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:27AM Federer* 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent service game from Gasquet as he holds to 15 with a service winner. Gasquet has got 84 per cent of his first serves in so far. 10:22AM Federer 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) Gasquet is actually playing really well here, and he produces a sumptuous backhand crosscourt pass for 15-30. Federer though has just been a little too good, reeling off the next three points to hold to 30. Fun match so far. Credit: Switzerland's Roger Federer hits a return against France's Richard Gasquet during their men's singles third round match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2018 10:19AM Federer* 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks Gasquet produces the first breathtaking single-handed backhand of the match, finding a crazily acute angle that spins so far wide that Federer is forced to hit his next shot outside of the tramlines. It makes the score 15-15, and though Gasquet then moves to 30-15, Federer comes up with a brilliant backhand of his own followed by a forehand winner to move up to 30-40 and break point. Gasquet saves it with the lesser-spotted backhand drive volley, but Federer forces another one moments later and takes this one with an inside-in forehand return winner. Genius. Class ��@RogerFederer with an early break in the first set. Leads 3-1.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aeSfrj7Bh2— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:12AM Federer 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple more errors from Federer this game, but he does enough to hold to 30. Gasquet trying to be positive with his returns when he can get a racket to the ball. 10:09AM Federer* 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few loose shots from Federer help Gasquet to a love hold of his own. 10:08AM Federer 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer kicks things off with a love hold. Expect a few more of these today. The game lasted just over a minute. 10:05AM Ready? Play Federer serving first. 10:02AM Players are out They're knocking up, and this exhibition match will be underway soon. It's a Super Saturday special on @RodLaverArena!@RogerFederer and @RichardGasquet1 set to clash in the battle of the beautiful backhands! ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/oTCzEpY9wB— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 9:48AM Next up Angelique Kerber has just thumped Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes. Roger Federer and Richard Gasquet are next on the Rod Laver Arena. 7:19AM Preamble Morning everyone, Welcome to the battle of the single-handed backhands, as 19-time grand slam champion Roger Federer takes on the 29th seed and former world No 7 Richard Gasquet. It's difficult to believe it now but when Gasquet stormed onto the ATP Tour as a teenager more than a decade ago, there was widespread belief that he was Federer's heir apparent. The beautiful shotmaking - especially that picture-book single-handed backhand - marked Gasquet out as a special talent, and he actually beat Federer the first time they met, in a three-set thriller in Monte Carlo. Gasquet was just 18 years old at the time, and had the look of a star in the making. Since then though, Gasquet has never quite kicked on, failing to reach a grand slam final and developing a reputation as a bit of a choker. His record against Federer has headed similarly south, with the Frenchman winning just one of the subsequent 17 meetings between the two since that Monte Carlo success. The problem Gasquet has when he plays Federer is that while they have similar styles, Federer just does everything that bit better. It's hard to really see where Gasquet can hurt his opponent today, especially given Federer has won the last 19 sets the two have played against one another. Richard Gasquet is known for his elegant single-handed backhand Credit: AP At the very least though, we should be in for a enjoyable exhibition of the dying art of single-handed backhands. After his second-round win on Thursday against Jan-Lennard Struff, Federer himself said he was looking forward to exchanging backhands with the similarly elegant Gasquet. "I love playing against one-handed guys because we need to keep it alive for as long as possible," Federer said. "I don't think I'll be teaching my kids to play like that." So enjoy these beautiful strokes while you can seems to be the message. Hopefully we'll be in for an entertaining match, but I'm expecting Federer to come through easily in straight sets.
Roger Federer reaches Australian Open fourth round for 16th time in career by ousting Richard Gasquet
Roger Federer eased into the second week of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet that kept the Swiss on course for a 20th grand slam title. The 36-year-old defending champion reached the fourth round of the Melbourne Park tournament for the 16th time by shifting up the gears when required to see off his French opponent in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena. Gasquet played a solid match, studded with his trademark occasional moments of shot-making brilliance, but that was never enough to overcome one of the best players of all time. Watched from the stands by 11-times grand slam champion Laver, second seed Federer sealed the victory with a backhand winner to set up a first career meeting with Hungarian Marton Fucsovics for a place in the quarter-finals. 12:06PM Game, set and match! Federer defeats Gasquet 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 Federer wants this done right here, punching away a volley for 0-30 and looking completely zoned in after a mixed couple of games. Gasquet though is not in the mood to fold, and he levels up at 30-30 with a crosscourt forehand winner. The Frenchman then has a point for 5-5 at 40-30, but Federer saves the game point with a heavy-topspin forehand. Federer then moves to match point with a trademark smash following an angled backhand crosscourt. Can Gasquet keep this match alive? Yes he can! A beautiful backhand winner up the line has us back at deuce. Gasquet then moves up to game point again, but Federer saves it with a sensational inside-in forehand return winner. Federer then earns a second match point with a backhand winner up the line of his own. And this time he takes it! Gasquet does well to put a volley into the corner, but Federer chases it down and flicks away another backhand winner up the line. After 1hr 59 min, Federer is through to the fourth round. .@RogerFederer is through to the 4R where he will face Marton #Fucsovics! ������ #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/d5SBpkoTuU— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:57AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Back to business for Federer as he holds to love. Gasquet will serve to stay in the match. 11:55AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Federer has snapped back to life this game, crunching a deep forehand return for 30-30. But Fed then misses his next two returns, and Gasquet holds. Three games in a row for the Frenchman. 11:51AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) - Gasquet breaks back Well what have we here? Federer wastes a couple of game points, and all of a sudden Gasquet is up break point at advantage after nailing a beautiful backhand winner up the line. It's his first break point of the match. What does Federer do in response? Serves an ace down the T of course. But Fed then sprays a forehand well wide, and Gasquet has a second break point chance. And this time he takes it, as Federer nets a backhand! Federer's level has just dropped a bit in the last few minutes. He looks a bit frustrated at some of the flashy shots his opponent is producing. Federer is broken for only the second time this tournament. Lovely stuff from Richard Gasquet ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ax08zpy49j— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 20, 2018 11:42AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) A brilliant Gasquet backhand half-volley is the highlight of a solid hold to 15. 11:39AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) How's this for a stat? Federer has got 85 per cent of his first serves in. Unbelievable rhythm from the 19-time grand slam champion. He's taken to deuce for the first time in the match here, but hits a brilliant inside-in forehand winner to complete the hold. Federer is just two games away from the fourth round. 11:35AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet stops the run of games against him at five, sealing a hold to 15 with an ace down the T. 11:31AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 3-0 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple of Federer errors let Gasquet into the game at 30-30, but a huge serve and a clincial smash seal another hold. Five straight games for Federer. 11:28AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 2-0 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks A double fault hands Federer what feels like two virtual match points at 15-40. Fed takes the first one with a clever drop shot. The fourth round is in sight for the reigning Australian Open champion. 11:24AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) You'd expect Federer to put his foot on the gas from here and go haring after the finish line, even though Gasquet is battling manfully. Fed holds to 15 to kick off the third set. 11:19AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and second set Federer Danger signs for Gasquet here. A brilliant forehand return winner on the stretch takes Federer to within two points of the first set at 15-30. And he gets to within one point after a screaming backhand pass down the line takes Federer to 30-40. Gasquet sprays a backhand long, and it's second set Federer! In typical style, Federer steps it up when he needs to, and establishes a two-set lead with his first break point of the set. It was these kinds of gems that earned @RogerFederer the second set �� He leads 6-2 7-5.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VshCRXlDj4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:13AM Federer 6-2, 6-5 Gasquet* (*next server) First "come on!" of the day from Federer, after he flicks away another sensational backhand winner crosscourt for 40-0. He eventually holds to 30, and Gasquet will serve to stay in the set for a second time. The single-handed backhand is a work of art... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/9I30il8m3c— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:10AM Federer* 6-2, 5-5 Gasquet (*next server) Impressive serving again from Gasquet, who's playing really well today. He holds to 15, and we remain on serve in the first set. 11:07AM Federer 6-2, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer is annoyed with himself when he misses a backhand for 30-15, so he quickly corrects things with a second serve ace. Gasquet then sends a backhand wide - game Federer. Gasquet will serve to stay in the second set. 11:05AM Federer* 6-2, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet does well to shrug that disappointment aside and hold to 30. It gets a little tense after Federer reels him back from 40-0 to 40-30, but a forehand winner up the line wraps up the game. No break points for either player this set. .@RogerFederer doing Roger Federer things��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/faK8vLYS4B— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:01AM Federer 6-2, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) That's arguably the backhand of the match, and it comes from Gasquet. He hits it from the forehand corner so it's technically an inside-out forehand, and it flies beyond Federer for 30-30. There's then a crazy moment as Gasquet challenges a Federer serve but is told Hawk-eye is not working. Gasquet is furious. The serve is called as an ace, and after Gasquet misses his return on the next point, it's game Federer. That's tough on the Frenchman - the serve may well have been in, but it's maddening not knowing. .@RichardGasquet1 starting to find his groove... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DUkxbJZi3a— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:57AM Federer* 6-2, 3-3 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent resolve from Gasquet. He's down 15-30 but lands two excellent serves and then knifes away a volley to hold to 30. 10:52AM Federer 6-2, 3-2 Gasquet* (*next server) No let up from Federer. He misses a couple of forehands in the game, but clever variety on the serve helps him to a hold to 30 - secured with an elegant drop volley. 10:49AM Federer* 6-2, 2-2 Gasquet (*next server) Credit Gasquet, he's continuing to chip away at this. An ace down the T secures a hold to 15. 10:45AM Federer 6-2, 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A double fault and a missed Federer volley give Gasquet a glimmer of a break at 30-30. But sure enough Fed then slams the door shut with a masterful drop shot and a service winner. Hard to see what Gasquet can do to stem the tide here - he just doesn't have the weapons to really hurt Federer. Credit: Getty Images 10:41AM Federer* 6-2, 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few charitable errors from Federer help Gasquet to a hold to 15. 10:38AM Federer 6-2, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) By winning that set, Federer has now won the last 20 sets that these two have played against each other. And a hold to 30 here maintains Fed's momentum at the start of the second. 10:35AM Federer* 6-2 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and first set Federer Wow, Federer storms to 0-30 with a gorgeous backhand winner up the line. The low camera at Melbourne Park caught Federer's perfect technique beautifully. Federer then hits a replica backhand winner on the next point to open up three set points at 0-40. Federer seems to be relishing the challenge of proving that his backhand is the fairest of them all. Gasquet saves the first set point, but he double faults on the second to gift his opponent the first set. Federer a set to the good after 27 minutes. Vintage @RogerFederer emerges from the single-handed backhand-off ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IZzP3ksjqn— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:30AM Federer 5-2 Gasquet* (*next server) Lovely stuff again from both men this game, with Gasquet more than playing his part. He produces arguably the shot of the match so far with a no-look flicked forehand pass after chasing down a drop volley. Federer continues to motor on though, and he holds with an ace out wide. Gasquet will serve to keep this entertaining first set alive. .@RichardGasquet1 outwits @RogerFederer with a cleverly disguised winner ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VbC2QfW7gK— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:27AM Federer* 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent service game from Gasquet as he holds to 15 with a service winner. Gasquet has got 84 per cent of his first serves in so far. 10:22AM Federer 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) Gasquet is actually playing really well here, and he produces a sumptuous backhand crosscourt pass for 15-30. Federer though has just been a little too good, reeling off the next three points to hold to 30. Fun match so far. Credit: Switzerland's Roger Federer hits a return against France's Richard Gasquet during their men's singles third round match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2018 10:19AM Federer* 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks Gasquet produces the first breathtaking single-handed backhand of the match, finding a crazily acute angle that spins so far wide that Federer is forced to hit his next shot outside of the tramlines. It makes the score 15-15, and though Gasquet then moves to 30-15, Federer comes up with a brilliant backhand of his own followed by a forehand winner to move up to 30-40 and break point. Gasquet saves it with the lesser-spotted backhand drive volley, but Federer forces another one moments later and takes this one with an inside-in forehand return winner. Genius. Class ��@RogerFederer with an early break in the first set. Leads 3-1.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aeSfrj7Bh2— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:12AM Federer 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple more errors from Federer this game, but he does enough to hold to 30. Gasquet trying to be positive with his returns when he can get a racket to the ball. 10:09AM Federer* 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few loose shots from Federer help Gasquet to a love hold of his own. 10:08AM Federer 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer kicks things off with a love hold. Expect a few more of these today. The game lasted just over a minute. 10:05AM Ready? Play Federer serving first. 10:02AM Players are out They're knocking up, and this exhibition match will be underway soon. It's a Super Saturday special on @RodLaverArena!@RogerFederer and @RichardGasquet1 set to clash in the battle of the beautiful backhands! ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/oTCzEpY9wB— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 9:48AM Next up Angelique Kerber has just thumped Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes. Roger Federer and Richard Gasquet are next on the Rod Laver Arena. 7:19AM Preamble Morning everyone, Welcome to the battle of the single-handed backhands, as 19-time grand slam champion Roger Federer takes on the 29th seed and former world No 7 Richard Gasquet. It's difficult to believe it now but when Gasquet stormed onto the ATP Tour as a teenager more than a decade ago, there was widespread belief that he was Federer's heir apparent. The beautiful shotmaking - especially that picture-book single-handed backhand - marked Gasquet out as a special talent, and he actually beat Federer the first time they met, in a three-set thriller in Monte Carlo. Gasquet was just 18 years old at the time, and had the look of a star in the making. Since then though, Gasquet has never quite kicked on, failing to reach a grand slam final and developing a reputation as a bit of a choker. His record against Federer has headed similarly south, with the Frenchman winning just one of the subsequent 17 meetings between the two since that Monte Carlo success. The problem Gasquet has when he plays Federer is that while they have similar styles, Federer just does everything that bit better. It's hard to really see where Gasquet can hurt his opponent today, especially given Federer has won the last 19 sets the two have played against one another. Richard Gasquet is known for his elegant single-handed backhand Credit: AP At the very least though, we should be in for a enjoyable exhibition of the dying art of single-handed backhands. After his second-round win on Thursday against Jan-Lennard Struff, Federer himself said he was looking forward to exchanging backhands with the similarly elegant Gasquet. "I love playing against one-handed guys because we need to keep it alive for as long as possible," Federer said. "I don't think I'll be teaching my kids to play like that." So enjoy these beautiful strokes while you can seems to be the message. Hopefully we'll be in for an entertaining match, but I'm expecting Federer to come through easily in straight sets.
Roger Federer eased into the second week of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet that kept the Swiss on course for a 20th grand slam title. The 36-year-old defending champion reached the fourth round of the Melbourne Park tournament for the 16th time by shifting up the gears when required to see off his French opponent in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena. Gasquet played a solid match, studded with his trademark occasional moments of shot-making brilliance, but that was never enough to overcome one of the best players of all time. Watched from the stands by 11-times grand slam champion Laver, second seed Federer sealed the victory with a backhand winner to set up a first career meeting with Hungarian Marton Fucsovics for a place in the quarter-finals. 12:06PM Game, set and match! Federer defeats Gasquet 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 Federer wants this done right here, punching away a volley for 0-30 and looking completely zoned in after a mixed couple of games. Gasquet though is not in the mood to fold, and he levels up at 30-30 with a crosscourt forehand winner. The Frenchman then has a point for 5-5 at 40-30, but Federer saves the game point with a heavy-topspin forehand. Federer then moves to match point with a trademark smash following an angled backhand crosscourt. Can Gasquet keep this match alive? Yes he can! A beautiful backhand winner up the line has us back at deuce. Gasquet then moves up to game point again, but Federer saves it with a sensational inside-in forehand return winner. Federer then earns a second match point with a backhand winner up the line of his own. And this time he takes it! Gasquet does well to put a volley into the corner, but Federer chases it down and flicks away another backhand winner up the line. After 1hr 59 min, Federer is through to the fourth round. .@RogerFederer is through to the 4R where he will face Marton #Fucsovics! ������ #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/d5SBpkoTuU— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:57AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Back to business for Federer as he holds to love. Gasquet will serve to stay in the match. 11:55AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Federer has snapped back to life this game, crunching a deep forehand return for 30-30. But Fed then misses his next two returns, and Gasquet holds. Three games in a row for the Frenchman. 11:51AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) - Gasquet breaks back Well what have we here? Federer wastes a couple of game points, and all of a sudden Gasquet is up break point at advantage after nailing a beautiful backhand winner up the line. It's his first break point of the match. What does Federer do in response? Serves an ace down the T of course. But Fed then sprays a forehand well wide, and Gasquet has a second break point chance. And this time he takes it, as Federer nets a backhand! Federer's level has just dropped a bit in the last few minutes. He looks a bit frustrated at some of the flashy shots his opponent is producing. Federer is broken for only the second time this tournament. Lovely stuff from Richard Gasquet ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ax08zpy49j— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 20, 2018 11:42AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) A brilliant Gasquet backhand half-volley is the highlight of a solid hold to 15. 11:39AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) How's this for a stat? Federer has got 85 per cent of his first serves in. Unbelievable rhythm from the 19-time grand slam champion. He's taken to deuce for the first time in the match here, but hits a brilliant inside-in forehand winner to complete the hold. Federer is just two games away from the fourth round. 11:35AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet stops the run of games against him at five, sealing a hold to 15 with an ace down the T. 11:31AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 3-0 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple of Federer errors let Gasquet into the game at 30-30, but a huge serve and a clincial smash seal another hold. Five straight games for Federer. 11:28AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 2-0 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks A double fault hands Federer what feels like two virtual match points at 15-40. Fed takes the first one with a clever drop shot. The fourth round is in sight for the reigning Australian Open champion. 11:24AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) You'd expect Federer to put his foot on the gas from here and go haring after the finish line, even though Gasquet is battling manfully. Fed holds to 15 to kick off the third set. 11:19AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and second set Federer Danger signs for Gasquet here. A brilliant forehand return winner on the stretch takes Federer to within two points of the first set at 15-30. And he gets to within one point after a screaming backhand pass down the line takes Federer to 30-40. Gasquet sprays a backhand long, and it's second set Federer! In typical style, Federer steps it up when he needs to, and establishes a two-set lead with his first break point of the set. It was these kinds of gems that earned @RogerFederer the second set �� He leads 6-2 7-5.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VshCRXlDj4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:13AM Federer 6-2, 6-5 Gasquet* (*next server) First "come on!" of the day from Federer, after he flicks away another sensational backhand winner crosscourt for 40-0. He eventually holds to 30, and Gasquet will serve to stay in the set for a second time. The single-handed backhand is a work of art... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/9I30il8m3c— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:10AM Federer* 6-2, 5-5 Gasquet (*next server) Impressive serving again from Gasquet, who's playing really well today. He holds to 15, and we remain on serve in the first set. 11:07AM Federer 6-2, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer is annoyed with himself when he misses a backhand for 30-15, so he quickly corrects things with a second serve ace. Gasquet then sends a backhand wide - game Federer. Gasquet will serve to stay in the second set. 11:05AM Federer* 6-2, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet does well to shrug that disappointment aside and hold to 30. It gets a little tense after Federer reels him back from 40-0 to 40-30, but a forehand winner up the line wraps up the game. No break points for either player this set. .@RogerFederer doing Roger Federer things��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/faK8vLYS4B— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:01AM Federer 6-2, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) That's arguably the backhand of the match, and it comes from Gasquet. He hits it from the forehand corner so it's technically an inside-out forehand, and it flies beyond Federer for 30-30. There's then a crazy moment as Gasquet challenges a Federer serve but is told Hawk-eye is not working. Gasquet is furious. The serve is called as an ace, and after Gasquet misses his return on the next point, it's game Federer. That's tough on the Frenchman - the serve may well have been in, but it's maddening not knowing. .@RichardGasquet1 starting to find his groove... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DUkxbJZi3a— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:57AM Federer* 6-2, 3-3 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent resolve from Gasquet. He's down 15-30 but lands two excellent serves and then knifes away a volley to hold to 30. 10:52AM Federer 6-2, 3-2 Gasquet* (*next server) No let up from Federer. He misses a couple of forehands in the game, but clever variety on the serve helps him to a hold to 30 - secured with an elegant drop volley. 10:49AM Federer* 6-2, 2-2 Gasquet (*next server) Credit Gasquet, he's continuing to chip away at this. An ace down the T secures a hold to 15. 10:45AM Federer 6-2, 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A double fault and a missed Federer volley give Gasquet a glimmer of a break at 30-30. But sure enough Fed then slams the door shut with a masterful drop shot and a service winner. Hard to see what Gasquet can do to stem the tide here - he just doesn't have the weapons to really hurt Federer. Credit: Getty Images 10:41AM Federer* 6-2, 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few charitable errors from Federer help Gasquet to a hold to 15. 10:38AM Federer 6-2, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) By winning that set, Federer has now won the last 20 sets that these two have played against each other. And a hold to 30 here maintains Fed's momentum at the start of the second. 10:35AM Federer* 6-2 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and first set Federer Wow, Federer storms to 0-30 with a gorgeous backhand winner up the line. The low camera at Melbourne Park caught Federer's perfect technique beautifully. Federer then hits a replica backhand winner on the next point to open up three set points at 0-40. Federer seems to be relishing the challenge of proving that his backhand is the fairest of them all. Gasquet saves the first set point, but he double faults on the second to gift his opponent the first set. Federer a set to the good after 27 minutes. Vintage @RogerFederer emerges from the single-handed backhand-off ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IZzP3ksjqn— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:30AM Federer 5-2 Gasquet* (*next server) Lovely stuff again from both men this game, with Gasquet more than playing his part. He produces arguably the shot of the match so far with a no-look flicked forehand pass after chasing down a drop volley. Federer continues to motor on though, and he holds with an ace out wide. Gasquet will serve to keep this entertaining first set alive. .@RichardGasquet1 outwits @RogerFederer with a cleverly disguised winner ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VbC2QfW7gK— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:27AM Federer* 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent service game from Gasquet as he holds to 15 with a service winner. Gasquet has got 84 per cent of his first serves in so far. 10:22AM Federer 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) Gasquet is actually playing really well here, and he produces a sumptuous backhand crosscourt pass for 15-30. Federer though has just been a little too good, reeling off the next three points to hold to 30. Fun match so far. Credit: Switzerland's Roger Federer hits a return against France's Richard Gasquet during their men's singles third round match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2018 10:19AM Federer* 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks Gasquet produces the first breathtaking single-handed backhand of the match, finding a crazily acute angle that spins so far wide that Federer is forced to hit his next shot outside of the tramlines. It makes the score 15-15, and though Gasquet then moves to 30-15, Federer comes up with a brilliant backhand of his own followed by a forehand winner to move up to 30-40 and break point. Gasquet saves it with the lesser-spotted backhand drive volley, but Federer forces another one moments later and takes this one with an inside-in forehand return winner. Genius. Class ��@RogerFederer with an early break in the first set. Leads 3-1.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aeSfrj7Bh2— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:12AM Federer 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple more errors from Federer this game, but he does enough to hold to 30. Gasquet trying to be positive with his returns when he can get a racket to the ball. 10:09AM Federer* 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few loose shots from Federer help Gasquet to a love hold of his own. 10:08AM Federer 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer kicks things off with a love hold. Expect a few more of these today. The game lasted just over a minute. 10:05AM Ready? Play Federer serving first. 10:02AM Players are out They're knocking up, and this exhibition match will be underway soon. It's a Super Saturday special on @RodLaverArena!@RogerFederer and @RichardGasquet1 set to clash in the battle of the beautiful backhands! ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/oTCzEpY9wB— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 9:48AM Next up Angelique Kerber has just thumped Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes. Roger Federer and Richard Gasquet are next on the Rod Laver Arena. 7:19AM Preamble Morning everyone, Welcome to the battle of the single-handed backhands, as 19-time grand slam champion Roger Federer takes on the 29th seed and former world No 7 Richard Gasquet. It's difficult to believe it now but when Gasquet stormed onto the ATP Tour as a teenager more than a decade ago, there was widespread belief that he was Federer's heir apparent. The beautiful shotmaking - especially that picture-book single-handed backhand - marked Gasquet out as a special talent, and he actually beat Federer the first time they met, in a three-set thriller in Monte Carlo. Gasquet was just 18 years old at the time, and had the look of a star in the making. Since then though, Gasquet has never quite kicked on, failing to reach a grand slam final and developing a reputation as a bit of a choker. His record against Federer has headed similarly south, with the Frenchman winning just one of the subsequent 17 meetings between the two since that Monte Carlo success. The problem Gasquet has when he plays Federer is that while they have similar styles, Federer just does everything that bit better. It's hard to really see where Gasquet can hurt his opponent today, especially given Federer has won the last 19 sets the two have played against one another. Richard Gasquet is known for his elegant single-handed backhand Credit: AP At the very least though, we should be in for a enjoyable exhibition of the dying art of single-handed backhands. After his second-round win on Thursday against Jan-Lennard Struff, Federer himself said he was looking forward to exchanging backhands with the similarly elegant Gasquet. "I love playing against one-handed guys because we need to keep it alive for as long as possible," Federer said. "I don't think I'll be teaching my kids to play like that." So enjoy these beautiful strokes while you can seems to be the message. Hopefully we'll be in for an entertaining match, but I'm expecting Federer to come through easily in straight sets.
Roger Federer reaches Australian Open fourth round for 16th time in career by ousting Richard Gasquet
Roger Federer eased into the second week of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet that kept the Swiss on course for a 20th grand slam title. The 36-year-old defending champion reached the fourth round of the Melbourne Park tournament for the 16th time by shifting up the gears when required to see off his French opponent in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena. Gasquet played a solid match, studded with his trademark occasional moments of shot-making brilliance, but that was never enough to overcome one of the best players of all time. Watched from the stands by 11-times grand slam champion Laver, second seed Federer sealed the victory with a backhand winner to set up a first career meeting with Hungarian Marton Fucsovics for a place in the quarter-finals. 12:06PM Game, set and match! Federer defeats Gasquet 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 Federer wants this done right here, punching away a volley for 0-30 and looking completely zoned in after a mixed couple of games. Gasquet though is not in the mood to fold, and he levels up at 30-30 with a crosscourt forehand winner. The Frenchman then has a point for 5-5 at 40-30, but Federer saves the game point with a heavy-topspin forehand. Federer then moves to match point with a trademark smash following an angled backhand crosscourt. Can Gasquet keep this match alive? Yes he can! A beautiful backhand winner up the line has us back at deuce. Gasquet then moves up to game point again, but Federer saves it with a sensational inside-in forehand return winner. Federer then earns a second match point with a backhand winner up the line of his own. And this time he takes it! Gasquet does well to put a volley into the corner, but Federer chases it down and flicks away another backhand winner up the line. After 1hr 59 min, Federer is through to the fourth round. .@RogerFederer is through to the 4R where he will face Marton #Fucsovics! ������ #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/d5SBpkoTuU— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:57AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Back to business for Federer as he holds to love. Gasquet will serve to stay in the match. 11:55AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Federer has snapped back to life this game, crunching a deep forehand return for 30-30. But Fed then misses his next two returns, and Gasquet holds. Three games in a row for the Frenchman. 11:51AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) - Gasquet breaks back Well what have we here? Federer wastes a couple of game points, and all of a sudden Gasquet is up break point at advantage after nailing a beautiful backhand winner up the line. It's his first break point of the match. What does Federer do in response? Serves an ace down the T of course. But Fed then sprays a forehand well wide, and Gasquet has a second break point chance. And this time he takes it, as Federer nets a backhand! Federer's level has just dropped a bit in the last few minutes. He looks a bit frustrated at some of the flashy shots his opponent is producing. Federer is broken for only the second time this tournament. Lovely stuff from Richard Gasquet ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ax08zpy49j— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 20, 2018 11:42AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) A brilliant Gasquet backhand half-volley is the highlight of a solid hold to 15. 11:39AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) How's this for a stat? Federer has got 85 per cent of his first serves in. Unbelievable rhythm from the 19-time grand slam champion. He's taken to deuce for the first time in the match here, but hits a brilliant inside-in forehand winner to complete the hold. Federer is just two games away from the fourth round. 11:35AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet stops the run of games against him at five, sealing a hold to 15 with an ace down the T. 11:31AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 3-0 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple of Federer errors let Gasquet into the game at 30-30, but a huge serve and a clincial smash seal another hold. Five straight games for Federer. 11:28AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 2-0 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks A double fault hands Federer what feels like two virtual match points at 15-40. Fed takes the first one with a clever drop shot. The fourth round is in sight for the reigning Australian Open champion. 11:24AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) You'd expect Federer to put his foot on the gas from here and go haring after the finish line, even though Gasquet is battling manfully. Fed holds to 15 to kick off the third set. 11:19AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and second set Federer Danger signs for Gasquet here. A brilliant forehand return winner on the stretch takes Federer to within two points of the first set at 15-30. And he gets to within one point after a screaming backhand pass down the line takes Federer to 30-40. Gasquet sprays a backhand long, and it's second set Federer! In typical style, Federer steps it up when he needs to, and establishes a two-set lead with his first break point of the set. It was these kinds of gems that earned @RogerFederer the second set �� He leads 6-2 7-5.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VshCRXlDj4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:13AM Federer 6-2, 6-5 Gasquet* (*next server) First "come on!" of the day from Federer, after he flicks away another sensational backhand winner crosscourt for 40-0. He eventually holds to 30, and Gasquet will serve to stay in the set for a second time. The single-handed backhand is a work of art... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/9I30il8m3c— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:10AM Federer* 6-2, 5-5 Gasquet (*next server) Impressive serving again from Gasquet, who's playing really well today. He holds to 15, and we remain on serve in the first set. 11:07AM Federer 6-2, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer is annoyed with himself when he misses a backhand for 30-15, so he quickly corrects things with a second serve ace. Gasquet then sends a backhand wide - game Federer. Gasquet will serve to stay in the second set. 11:05AM Federer* 6-2, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet does well to shrug that disappointment aside and hold to 30. It gets a little tense after Federer reels him back from 40-0 to 40-30, but a forehand winner up the line wraps up the game. No break points for either player this set. .@RogerFederer doing Roger Federer things��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/faK8vLYS4B— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:01AM Federer 6-2, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) That's arguably the backhand of the match, and it comes from Gasquet. He hits it from the forehand corner so it's technically an inside-out forehand, and it flies beyond Federer for 30-30. There's then a crazy moment as Gasquet challenges a Federer serve but is told Hawk-eye is not working. Gasquet is furious. The serve is called as an ace, and after Gasquet misses his return on the next point, it's game Federer. That's tough on the Frenchman - the serve may well have been in, but it's maddening not knowing. .@RichardGasquet1 starting to find his groove... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DUkxbJZi3a— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:57AM Federer* 6-2, 3-3 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent resolve from Gasquet. He's down 15-30 but lands two excellent serves and then knifes away a volley to hold to 30. 10:52AM Federer 6-2, 3-2 Gasquet* (*next server) No let up from Federer. He misses a couple of forehands in the game, but clever variety on the serve helps him to a hold to 30 - secured with an elegant drop volley. 10:49AM Federer* 6-2, 2-2 Gasquet (*next server) Credit Gasquet, he's continuing to chip away at this. An ace down the T secures a hold to 15. 10:45AM Federer 6-2, 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A double fault and a missed Federer volley give Gasquet a glimmer of a break at 30-30. But sure enough Fed then slams the door shut with a masterful drop shot and a service winner. Hard to see what Gasquet can do to stem the tide here - he just doesn't have the weapons to really hurt Federer. Credit: Getty Images 10:41AM Federer* 6-2, 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few charitable errors from Federer help Gasquet to a hold to 15. 10:38AM Federer 6-2, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) By winning that set, Federer has now won the last 20 sets that these two have played against each other. And a hold to 30 here maintains Fed's momentum at the start of the second. 10:35AM Federer* 6-2 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and first set Federer Wow, Federer storms to 0-30 with a gorgeous backhand winner up the line. The low camera at Melbourne Park caught Federer's perfect technique beautifully. Federer then hits a replica backhand winner on the next point to open up three set points at 0-40. Federer seems to be relishing the challenge of proving that his backhand is the fairest of them all. Gasquet saves the first set point, but he double faults on the second to gift his opponent the first set. Federer a set to the good after 27 minutes. Vintage @RogerFederer emerges from the single-handed backhand-off ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IZzP3ksjqn— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:30AM Federer 5-2 Gasquet* (*next server) Lovely stuff again from both men this game, with Gasquet more than playing his part. He produces arguably the shot of the match so far with a no-look flicked forehand pass after chasing down a drop volley. Federer continues to motor on though, and he holds with an ace out wide. Gasquet will serve to keep this entertaining first set alive. .@RichardGasquet1 outwits @RogerFederer with a cleverly disguised winner ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VbC2QfW7gK— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:27AM Federer* 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent service game from Gasquet as he holds to 15 with a service winner. Gasquet has got 84 per cent of his first serves in so far. 10:22AM Federer 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) Gasquet is actually playing really well here, and he produces a sumptuous backhand crosscourt pass for 15-30. Federer though has just been a little too good, reeling off the next three points to hold to 30. Fun match so far. Credit: Switzerland's Roger Federer hits a return against France's Richard Gasquet during their men's singles third round match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2018 10:19AM Federer* 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks Gasquet produces the first breathtaking single-handed backhand of the match, finding a crazily acute angle that spins so far wide that Federer is forced to hit his next shot outside of the tramlines. It makes the score 15-15, and though Gasquet then moves to 30-15, Federer comes up with a brilliant backhand of his own followed by a forehand winner to move up to 30-40 and break point. Gasquet saves it with the lesser-spotted backhand drive volley, but Federer forces another one moments later and takes this one with an inside-in forehand return winner. Genius. Class ��@RogerFederer with an early break in the first set. Leads 3-1.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aeSfrj7Bh2— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:12AM Federer 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple more errors from Federer this game, but he does enough to hold to 30. Gasquet trying to be positive with his returns when he can get a racket to the ball. 10:09AM Federer* 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few loose shots from Federer help Gasquet to a love hold of his own. 10:08AM Federer 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer kicks things off with a love hold. Expect a few more of these today. The game lasted just over a minute. 10:05AM Ready? Play Federer serving first. 10:02AM Players are out They're knocking up, and this exhibition match will be underway soon. It's a Super Saturday special on @RodLaverArena!@RogerFederer and @RichardGasquet1 set to clash in the battle of the beautiful backhands! ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/oTCzEpY9wB— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 9:48AM Next up Angelique Kerber has just thumped Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes. Roger Federer and Richard Gasquet are next on the Rod Laver Arena. 7:19AM Preamble Morning everyone, Welcome to the battle of the single-handed backhands, as 19-time grand slam champion Roger Federer takes on the 29th seed and former world No 7 Richard Gasquet. It's difficult to believe it now but when Gasquet stormed onto the ATP Tour as a teenager more than a decade ago, there was widespread belief that he was Federer's heir apparent. The beautiful shotmaking - especially that picture-book single-handed backhand - marked Gasquet out as a special talent, and he actually beat Federer the first time they met, in a three-set thriller in Monte Carlo. Gasquet was just 18 years old at the time, and had the look of a star in the making. Since then though, Gasquet has never quite kicked on, failing to reach a grand slam final and developing a reputation as a bit of a choker. His record against Federer has headed similarly south, with the Frenchman winning just one of the subsequent 17 meetings between the two since that Monte Carlo success. The problem Gasquet has when he plays Federer is that while they have similar styles, Federer just does everything that bit better. It's hard to really see where Gasquet can hurt his opponent today, especially given Federer has won the last 19 sets the two have played against one another. Richard Gasquet is known for his elegant single-handed backhand Credit: AP At the very least though, we should be in for a enjoyable exhibition of the dying art of single-handed backhands. After his second-round win on Thursday against Jan-Lennard Struff, Federer himself said he was looking forward to exchanging backhands with the similarly elegant Gasquet. "I love playing against one-handed guys because we need to keep it alive for as long as possible," Federer said. "I don't think I'll be teaching my kids to play like that." So enjoy these beautiful strokes while you can seems to be the message. Hopefully we'll be in for an entertaining match, but I'm expecting Federer to come through easily in straight sets.
Roger Federer eased into the second week of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet that kept the Swiss on course for a 20th grand slam title. The 36-year-old defending champion reached the fourth round of the Melbourne Park tournament for the 16th time by shifting up the gears when required to see off his French opponent in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena. Gasquet played a solid match, studded with his trademark occasional moments of shot-making brilliance, but that was never enough to overcome one of the best players of all time. Watched from the stands by 11-times grand slam champion Laver, second seed Federer sealed the victory with a backhand winner to set up a first career meeting with Hungarian Marton Fucsovics for a place in the quarter-finals. 12:06PM Game, set and match! Federer defeats Gasquet 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 Federer wants this done right here, punching away a volley for 0-30 and looking completely zoned in after a mixed couple of games. Gasquet though is not in the mood to fold, and he levels up at 30-30 with a crosscourt forehand winner. The Frenchman then has a point for 5-5 at 40-30, but Federer saves the game point with a heavy-topspin forehand. Federer then moves to match point with a trademark smash following an angled backhand crosscourt. Can Gasquet keep this match alive? Yes he can! A beautiful backhand winner up the line has us back at deuce. Gasquet then moves up to game point again, but Federer saves it with a sensational inside-in forehand return winner. Federer then earns a second match point with a backhand winner up the line of his own. And this time he takes it! Gasquet does well to put a volley into the corner, but Federer chases it down and flicks away another backhand winner up the line. After 1hr 59 min, Federer is through to the fourth round. .@RogerFederer is through to the 4R where he will face Marton #Fucsovics! ������ #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/d5SBpkoTuU— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:57AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Back to business for Federer as he holds to love. Gasquet will serve to stay in the match. 11:55AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Federer has snapped back to life this game, crunching a deep forehand return for 30-30. But Fed then misses his next two returns, and Gasquet holds. Three games in a row for the Frenchman. 11:51AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) - Gasquet breaks back Well what have we here? Federer wastes a couple of game points, and all of a sudden Gasquet is up break point at advantage after nailing a beautiful backhand winner up the line. It's his first break point of the match. What does Federer do in response? Serves an ace down the T of course. But Fed then sprays a forehand well wide, and Gasquet has a second break point chance. And this time he takes it, as Federer nets a backhand! Federer's level has just dropped a bit in the last few minutes. He looks a bit frustrated at some of the flashy shots his opponent is producing. Federer is broken for only the second time this tournament. Lovely stuff from Richard Gasquet ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ax08zpy49j— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 20, 2018 11:42AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) A brilliant Gasquet backhand half-volley is the highlight of a solid hold to 15. 11:39AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) How's this for a stat? Federer has got 85 per cent of his first serves in. Unbelievable rhythm from the 19-time grand slam champion. He's taken to deuce for the first time in the match here, but hits a brilliant inside-in forehand winner to complete the hold. Federer is just two games away from the fourth round. 11:35AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet stops the run of games against him at five, sealing a hold to 15 with an ace down the T. 11:31AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 3-0 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple of Federer errors let Gasquet into the game at 30-30, but a huge serve and a clincial smash seal another hold. Five straight games for Federer. 11:28AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 2-0 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks A double fault hands Federer what feels like two virtual match points at 15-40. Fed takes the first one with a clever drop shot. The fourth round is in sight for the reigning Australian Open champion. 11:24AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) You'd expect Federer to put his foot on the gas from here and go haring after the finish line, even though Gasquet is battling manfully. Fed holds to 15 to kick off the third set. 11:19AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and second set Federer Danger signs for Gasquet here. A brilliant forehand return winner on the stretch takes Federer to within two points of the first set at 15-30. And he gets to within one point after a screaming backhand pass down the line takes Federer to 30-40. Gasquet sprays a backhand long, and it's second set Federer! In typical style, Federer steps it up when he needs to, and establishes a two-set lead with his first break point of the set. It was these kinds of gems that earned @RogerFederer the second set �� He leads 6-2 7-5.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VshCRXlDj4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:13AM Federer 6-2, 6-5 Gasquet* (*next server) First "come on!" of the day from Federer, after he flicks away another sensational backhand winner crosscourt for 40-0. He eventually holds to 30, and Gasquet will serve to stay in the set for a second time. The single-handed backhand is a work of art... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/9I30il8m3c— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:10AM Federer* 6-2, 5-5 Gasquet (*next server) Impressive serving again from Gasquet, who's playing really well today. He holds to 15, and we remain on serve in the first set. 11:07AM Federer 6-2, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer is annoyed with himself when he misses a backhand for 30-15, so he quickly corrects things with a second serve ace. Gasquet then sends a backhand wide - game Federer. Gasquet will serve to stay in the second set. 11:05AM Federer* 6-2, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet does well to shrug that disappointment aside and hold to 30. It gets a little tense after Federer reels him back from 40-0 to 40-30, but a forehand winner up the line wraps up the game. No break points for either player this set. .@RogerFederer doing Roger Federer things��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/faK8vLYS4B— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:01AM Federer 6-2, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) That's arguably the backhand of the match, and it comes from Gasquet. He hits it from the forehand corner so it's technically an inside-out forehand, and it flies beyond Federer for 30-30. There's then a crazy moment as Gasquet challenges a Federer serve but is told Hawk-eye is not working. Gasquet is furious. The serve is called as an ace, and after Gasquet misses his return on the next point, it's game Federer. That's tough on the Frenchman - the serve may well have been in, but it's maddening not knowing. .@RichardGasquet1 starting to find his groove... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DUkxbJZi3a— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:57AM Federer* 6-2, 3-3 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent resolve from Gasquet. He's down 15-30 but lands two excellent serves and then knifes away a volley to hold to 30. 10:52AM Federer 6-2, 3-2 Gasquet* (*next server) No let up from Federer. He misses a couple of forehands in the game, but clever variety on the serve helps him to a hold to 30 - secured with an elegant drop volley. 10:49AM Federer* 6-2, 2-2 Gasquet (*next server) Credit Gasquet, he's continuing to chip away at this. An ace down the T secures a hold to 15. 10:45AM Federer 6-2, 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A double fault and a missed Federer volley give Gasquet a glimmer of a break at 30-30. But sure enough Fed then slams the door shut with a masterful drop shot and a service winner. Hard to see what Gasquet can do to stem the tide here - he just doesn't have the weapons to really hurt Federer. Credit: Getty Images 10:41AM Federer* 6-2, 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few charitable errors from Federer help Gasquet to a hold to 15. 10:38AM Federer 6-2, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) By winning that set, Federer has now won the last 20 sets that these two have played against each other. And a hold to 30 here maintains Fed's momentum at the start of the second. 10:35AM Federer* 6-2 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and first set Federer Wow, Federer storms to 0-30 with a gorgeous backhand winner up the line. The low camera at Melbourne Park caught Federer's perfect technique beautifully. Federer then hits a replica backhand winner on the next point to open up three set points at 0-40. Federer seems to be relishing the challenge of proving that his backhand is the fairest of them all. Gasquet saves the first set point, but he double faults on the second to gift his opponent the first set. Federer a set to the good after 27 minutes. Vintage @RogerFederer emerges from the single-handed backhand-off ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IZzP3ksjqn— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:30AM Federer 5-2 Gasquet* (*next server) Lovely stuff again from both men this game, with Gasquet more than playing his part. He produces arguably the shot of the match so far with a no-look flicked forehand pass after chasing down a drop volley. Federer continues to motor on though, and he holds with an ace out wide. Gasquet will serve to keep this entertaining first set alive. .@RichardGasquet1 outwits @RogerFederer with a cleverly disguised winner ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VbC2QfW7gK— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:27AM Federer* 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent service game from Gasquet as he holds to 15 with a service winner. Gasquet has got 84 per cent of his first serves in so far. 10:22AM Federer 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) Gasquet is actually playing really well here, and he produces a sumptuous backhand crosscourt pass for 15-30. Federer though has just been a little too good, reeling off the next three points to hold to 30. Fun match so far. Credit: Switzerland's Roger Federer hits a return against France's Richard Gasquet during their men's singles third round match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2018 10:19AM Federer* 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks Gasquet produces the first breathtaking single-handed backhand of the match, finding a crazily acute angle that spins so far wide that Federer is forced to hit his next shot outside of the tramlines. It makes the score 15-15, and though Gasquet then moves to 30-15, Federer comes up with a brilliant backhand of his own followed by a forehand winner to move up to 30-40 and break point. Gasquet saves it with the lesser-spotted backhand drive volley, but Federer forces another one moments later and takes this one with an inside-in forehand return winner. Genius. Class ��@RogerFederer with an early break in the first set. Leads 3-1.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aeSfrj7Bh2— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:12AM Federer 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple more errors from Federer this game, but he does enough to hold to 30. Gasquet trying to be positive with his returns when he can get a racket to the ball. 10:09AM Federer* 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few loose shots from Federer help Gasquet to a love hold of his own. 10:08AM Federer 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer kicks things off with a love hold. Expect a few more of these today. The game lasted just over a minute. 10:05AM Ready? Play Federer serving first. 10:02AM Players are out They're knocking up, and this exhibition match will be underway soon. It's a Super Saturday special on @RodLaverArena!@RogerFederer and @RichardGasquet1 set to clash in the battle of the beautiful backhands! ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/oTCzEpY9wB— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 9:48AM Next up Angelique Kerber has just thumped Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes. Roger Federer and Richard Gasquet are next on the Rod Laver Arena. 7:19AM Preamble Morning everyone, Welcome to the battle of the single-handed backhands, as 19-time grand slam champion Roger Federer takes on the 29th seed and former world No 7 Richard Gasquet. It's difficult to believe it now but when Gasquet stormed onto the ATP Tour as a teenager more than a decade ago, there was widespread belief that he was Federer's heir apparent. The beautiful shotmaking - especially that picture-book single-handed backhand - marked Gasquet out as a special talent, and he actually beat Federer the first time they met, in a three-set thriller in Monte Carlo. Gasquet was just 18 years old at the time, and had the look of a star in the making. Since then though, Gasquet has never quite kicked on, failing to reach a grand slam final and developing a reputation as a bit of a choker. His record against Federer has headed similarly south, with the Frenchman winning just one of the subsequent 17 meetings between the two since that Monte Carlo success. The problem Gasquet has when he plays Federer is that while they have similar styles, Federer just does everything that bit better. It's hard to really see where Gasquet can hurt his opponent today, especially given Federer has won the last 19 sets the two have played against one another. Richard Gasquet is known for his elegant single-handed backhand Credit: AP At the very least though, we should be in for a enjoyable exhibition of the dying art of single-handed backhands. After his second-round win on Thursday against Jan-Lennard Struff, Federer himself said he was looking forward to exchanging backhands with the similarly elegant Gasquet. "I love playing against one-handed guys because we need to keep it alive for as long as possible," Federer said. "I don't think I'll be teaching my kids to play like that." So enjoy these beautiful strokes while you can seems to be the message. Hopefully we'll be in for an entertaining match, but I'm expecting Federer to come through easily in straight sets.
Roger Federer reaches Australian Open fourth round for 16th time in career by ousting Richard Gasquet
Roger Federer eased into the second week of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet that kept the Swiss on course for a 20th grand slam title. The 36-year-old defending champion reached the fourth round of the Melbourne Park tournament for the 16th time by shifting up the gears when required to see off his French opponent in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena. Gasquet played a solid match, studded with his trademark occasional moments of shot-making brilliance, but that was never enough to overcome one of the best players of all time. Watched from the stands by 11-times grand slam champion Laver, second seed Federer sealed the victory with a backhand winner to set up a first career meeting with Hungarian Marton Fucsovics for a place in the quarter-finals. 12:06PM Game, set and match! Federer defeats Gasquet 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 Federer wants this done right here, punching away a volley for 0-30 and looking completely zoned in after a mixed couple of games. Gasquet though is not in the mood to fold, and he levels up at 30-30 with a crosscourt forehand winner. The Frenchman then has a point for 5-5 at 40-30, but Federer saves the game point with a heavy-topspin forehand. Federer then moves to match point with a trademark smash following an angled backhand crosscourt. Can Gasquet keep this match alive? Yes he can! A beautiful backhand winner up the line has us back at deuce. Gasquet then moves up to game point again, but Federer saves it with a sensational inside-in forehand return winner. Federer then earns a second match point with a backhand winner up the line of his own. And this time he takes it! Gasquet does well to put a volley into the corner, but Federer chases it down and flicks away another backhand winner up the line. After 1hr 59 min, Federer is through to the fourth round. .@RogerFederer is through to the 4R where he will face Marton #Fucsovics! ������ #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/d5SBpkoTuU— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:57AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Back to business for Federer as he holds to love. Gasquet will serve to stay in the match. 11:55AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Federer has snapped back to life this game, crunching a deep forehand return for 30-30. But Fed then misses his next two returns, and Gasquet holds. Three games in a row for the Frenchman. 11:51AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) - Gasquet breaks back Well what have we here? Federer wastes a couple of game points, and all of a sudden Gasquet is up break point at advantage after nailing a beautiful backhand winner up the line. It's his first break point of the match. What does Federer do in response? Serves an ace down the T of course. But Fed then sprays a forehand well wide, and Gasquet has a second break point chance. And this time he takes it, as Federer nets a backhand! Federer's level has just dropped a bit in the last few minutes. He looks a bit frustrated at some of the flashy shots his opponent is producing. Federer is broken for only the second time this tournament. Lovely stuff from Richard Gasquet ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ax08zpy49j— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 20, 2018 11:42AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) A brilliant Gasquet backhand half-volley is the highlight of a solid hold to 15. 11:39AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) How's this for a stat? Federer has got 85 per cent of his first serves in. Unbelievable rhythm from the 19-time grand slam champion. He's taken to deuce for the first time in the match here, but hits a brilliant inside-in forehand winner to complete the hold. Federer is just two games away from the fourth round. 11:35AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet stops the run of games against him at five, sealing a hold to 15 with an ace down the T. 11:31AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 3-0 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple of Federer errors let Gasquet into the game at 30-30, but a huge serve and a clincial smash seal another hold. Five straight games for Federer. 11:28AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 2-0 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks A double fault hands Federer what feels like two virtual match points at 15-40. Fed takes the first one with a clever drop shot. The fourth round is in sight for the reigning Australian Open champion. 11:24AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) You'd expect Federer to put his foot on the gas from here and go haring after the finish line, even though Gasquet is battling manfully. Fed holds to 15 to kick off the third set. 11:19AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and second set Federer Danger signs for Gasquet here. A brilliant forehand return winner on the stretch takes Federer to within two points of the first set at 15-30. And he gets to within one point after a screaming backhand pass down the line takes Federer to 30-40. Gasquet sprays a backhand long, and it's second set Federer! In typical style, Federer steps it up when he needs to, and establishes a two-set lead with his first break point of the set. It was these kinds of gems that earned @RogerFederer the second set �� He leads 6-2 7-5.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VshCRXlDj4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:13AM Federer 6-2, 6-5 Gasquet* (*next server) First "come on!" of the day from Federer, after he flicks away another sensational backhand winner crosscourt for 40-0. He eventually holds to 30, and Gasquet will serve to stay in the set for a second time. The single-handed backhand is a work of art... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/9I30il8m3c— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:10AM Federer* 6-2, 5-5 Gasquet (*next server) Impressive serving again from Gasquet, who's playing really well today. He holds to 15, and we remain on serve in the first set. 11:07AM Federer 6-2, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer is annoyed with himself when he misses a backhand for 30-15, so he quickly corrects things with a second serve ace. Gasquet then sends a backhand wide - game Federer. Gasquet will serve to stay in the second set. 11:05AM Federer* 6-2, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet does well to shrug that disappointment aside and hold to 30. It gets a little tense after Federer reels him back from 40-0 to 40-30, but a forehand winner up the line wraps up the game. No break points for either player this set. .@RogerFederer doing Roger Federer things��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/faK8vLYS4B— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:01AM Federer 6-2, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) That's arguably the backhand of the match, and it comes from Gasquet. He hits it from the forehand corner so it's technically an inside-out forehand, and it flies beyond Federer for 30-30. There's then a crazy moment as Gasquet challenges a Federer serve but is told Hawk-eye is not working. Gasquet is furious. The serve is called as an ace, and after Gasquet misses his return on the next point, it's game Federer. That's tough on the Frenchman - the serve may well have been in, but it's maddening not knowing. .@RichardGasquet1 starting to find his groove... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DUkxbJZi3a— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:57AM Federer* 6-2, 3-3 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent resolve from Gasquet. He's down 15-30 but lands two excellent serves and then knifes away a volley to hold to 30. 10:52AM Federer 6-2, 3-2 Gasquet* (*next server) No let up from Federer. He misses a couple of forehands in the game, but clever variety on the serve helps him to a hold to 30 - secured with an elegant drop volley. 10:49AM Federer* 6-2, 2-2 Gasquet (*next server) Credit Gasquet, he's continuing to chip away at this. An ace down the T secures a hold to 15. 10:45AM Federer 6-2, 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A double fault and a missed Federer volley give Gasquet a glimmer of a break at 30-30. But sure enough Fed then slams the door shut with a masterful drop shot and a service winner. Hard to see what Gasquet can do to stem the tide here - he just doesn't have the weapons to really hurt Federer. Credit: Getty Images 10:41AM Federer* 6-2, 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few charitable errors from Federer help Gasquet to a hold to 15. 10:38AM Federer 6-2, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) By winning that set, Federer has now won the last 20 sets that these two have played against each other. And a hold to 30 here maintains Fed's momentum at the start of the second. 10:35AM Federer* 6-2 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and first set Federer Wow, Federer storms to 0-30 with a gorgeous backhand winner up the line. The low camera at Melbourne Park caught Federer's perfect technique beautifully. Federer then hits a replica backhand winner on the next point to open up three set points at 0-40. Federer seems to be relishing the challenge of proving that his backhand is the fairest of them all. Gasquet saves the first set point, but he double faults on the second to gift his opponent the first set. Federer a set to the good after 27 minutes. Vintage @RogerFederer emerges from the single-handed backhand-off ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IZzP3ksjqn— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:30AM Federer 5-2 Gasquet* (*next server) Lovely stuff again from both men this game, with Gasquet more than playing his part. He produces arguably the shot of the match so far with a no-look flicked forehand pass after chasing down a drop volley. Federer continues to motor on though, and he holds with an ace out wide. Gasquet will serve to keep this entertaining first set alive. .@RichardGasquet1 outwits @RogerFederer with a cleverly disguised winner ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VbC2QfW7gK— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:27AM Federer* 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent service game from Gasquet as he holds to 15 with a service winner. Gasquet has got 84 per cent of his first serves in so far. 10:22AM Federer 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) Gasquet is actually playing really well here, and he produces a sumptuous backhand crosscourt pass for 15-30. Federer though has just been a little too good, reeling off the next three points to hold to 30. Fun match so far. Credit: Switzerland's Roger Federer hits a return against France's Richard Gasquet during their men's singles third round match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2018 10:19AM Federer* 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks Gasquet produces the first breathtaking single-handed backhand of the match, finding a crazily acute angle that spins so far wide that Federer is forced to hit his next shot outside of the tramlines. It makes the score 15-15, and though Gasquet then moves to 30-15, Federer comes up with a brilliant backhand of his own followed by a forehand winner to move up to 30-40 and break point. Gasquet saves it with the lesser-spotted backhand drive volley, but Federer forces another one moments later and takes this one with an inside-in forehand return winner. Genius. Class ��@RogerFederer with an early break in the first set. Leads 3-1.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aeSfrj7Bh2— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:12AM Federer 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple more errors from Federer this game, but he does enough to hold to 30. Gasquet trying to be positive with his returns when he can get a racket to the ball. 10:09AM Federer* 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few loose shots from Federer help Gasquet to a love hold of his own. 10:08AM Federer 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer kicks things off with a love hold. Expect a few more of these today. The game lasted just over a minute. 10:05AM Ready? Play Federer serving first. 10:02AM Players are out They're knocking up, and this exhibition match will be underway soon. It's a Super Saturday special on @RodLaverArena!@RogerFederer and @RichardGasquet1 set to clash in the battle of the beautiful backhands! ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/oTCzEpY9wB— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 9:48AM Next up Angelique Kerber has just thumped Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes. Roger Federer and Richard Gasquet are next on the Rod Laver Arena. 7:19AM Preamble Morning everyone, Welcome to the battle of the single-handed backhands, as 19-time grand slam champion Roger Federer takes on the 29th seed and former world No 7 Richard Gasquet. It's difficult to believe it now but when Gasquet stormed onto the ATP Tour as a teenager more than a decade ago, there was widespread belief that he was Federer's heir apparent. The beautiful shotmaking - especially that picture-book single-handed backhand - marked Gasquet out as a special talent, and he actually beat Federer the first time they met, in a three-set thriller in Monte Carlo. Gasquet was just 18 years old at the time, and had the look of a star in the making. Since then though, Gasquet has never quite kicked on, failing to reach a grand slam final and developing a reputation as a bit of a choker. His record against Federer has headed similarly south, with the Frenchman winning just one of the subsequent 17 meetings between the two since that Monte Carlo success. The problem Gasquet has when he plays Federer is that while they have similar styles, Federer just does everything that bit better. It's hard to really see where Gasquet can hurt his opponent today, especially given Federer has won the last 19 sets the two have played against one another. Richard Gasquet is known for his elegant single-handed backhand Credit: AP At the very least though, we should be in for a enjoyable exhibition of the dying art of single-handed backhands. After his second-round win on Thursday against Jan-Lennard Struff, Federer himself said he was looking forward to exchanging backhands with the similarly elegant Gasquet. "I love playing against one-handed guys because we need to keep it alive for as long as possible," Federer said. "I don't think I'll be teaching my kids to play like that." So enjoy these beautiful strokes while you can seems to be the message. Hopefully we'll be in for an entertaining match, but I'm expecting Federer to come through easily in straight sets.
Roger Federer eased into the second week of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet that kept the Swiss on course for a 20th grand slam title. The 36-year-old defending champion reached the fourth round of the Melbourne Park tournament for the 16th time by shifting up the gears when required to see off his French opponent in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena. Gasquet played a solid match, studded with his trademark occasional moments of shot-making brilliance, but that was never enough to overcome one of the best players of all time. Watched from the stands by 11-times grand slam champion Laver, second seed Federer sealed the victory with a backhand winner to set up a first career meeting with Hungarian Marton Fucsovics for a place in the quarter-finals. 12:06PM Game, set and match! Federer defeats Gasquet 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 Federer wants this done right here, punching away a volley for 0-30 and looking completely zoned in after a mixed couple of games. Gasquet though is not in the mood to fold, and he levels up at 30-30 with a crosscourt forehand winner. The Frenchman then has a point for 5-5 at 40-30, but Federer saves the game point with a heavy-topspin forehand. Federer then moves to match point with a trademark smash following an angled backhand crosscourt. Can Gasquet keep this match alive? Yes he can! A beautiful backhand winner up the line has us back at deuce. Gasquet then moves up to game point again, but Federer saves it with a sensational inside-in forehand return winner. Federer then earns a second match point with a backhand winner up the line of his own. And this time he takes it! Gasquet does well to put a volley into the corner, but Federer chases it down and flicks away another backhand winner up the line. After 1hr 59 min, Federer is through to the fourth round. .@RogerFederer is through to the 4R where he will face Marton #Fucsovics! ������ #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/d5SBpkoTuU— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:57AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Back to business for Federer as he holds to love. Gasquet will serve to stay in the match. 11:55AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Federer has snapped back to life this game, crunching a deep forehand return for 30-30. But Fed then misses his next two returns, and Gasquet holds. Three games in a row for the Frenchman. 11:51AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) - Gasquet breaks back Well what have we here? Federer wastes a couple of game points, and all of a sudden Gasquet is up break point at advantage after nailing a beautiful backhand winner up the line. It's his first break point of the match. What does Federer do in response? Serves an ace down the T of course. But Fed then sprays a forehand well wide, and Gasquet has a second break point chance. And this time he takes it, as Federer nets a backhand! Federer's level has just dropped a bit in the last few minutes. He looks a bit frustrated at some of the flashy shots his opponent is producing. Federer is broken for only the second time this tournament. Lovely stuff from Richard Gasquet ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ax08zpy49j— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 20, 2018 11:42AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) A brilliant Gasquet backhand half-volley is the highlight of a solid hold to 15. 11:39AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) How's this for a stat? Federer has got 85 per cent of his first serves in. Unbelievable rhythm from the 19-time grand slam champion. He's taken to deuce for the first time in the match here, but hits a brilliant inside-in forehand winner to complete the hold. Federer is just two games away from the fourth round. 11:35AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet stops the run of games against him at five, sealing a hold to 15 with an ace down the T. 11:31AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 3-0 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple of Federer errors let Gasquet into the game at 30-30, but a huge serve and a clincial smash seal another hold. Five straight games for Federer. 11:28AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 2-0 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks A double fault hands Federer what feels like two virtual match points at 15-40. Fed takes the first one with a clever drop shot. The fourth round is in sight for the reigning Australian Open champion. 11:24AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) You'd expect Federer to put his foot on the gas from here and go haring after the finish line, even though Gasquet is battling manfully. Fed holds to 15 to kick off the third set. 11:19AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and second set Federer Danger signs for Gasquet here. A brilliant forehand return winner on the stretch takes Federer to within two points of the first set at 15-30. And he gets to within one point after a screaming backhand pass down the line takes Federer to 30-40. Gasquet sprays a backhand long, and it's second set Federer! In typical style, Federer steps it up when he needs to, and establishes a two-set lead with his first break point of the set. It was these kinds of gems that earned @RogerFederer the second set �� He leads 6-2 7-5.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VshCRXlDj4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:13AM Federer 6-2, 6-5 Gasquet* (*next server) First "come on!" of the day from Federer, after he flicks away another sensational backhand winner crosscourt for 40-0. He eventually holds to 30, and Gasquet will serve to stay in the set for a second time. The single-handed backhand is a work of art... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/9I30il8m3c— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:10AM Federer* 6-2, 5-5 Gasquet (*next server) Impressive serving again from Gasquet, who's playing really well today. He holds to 15, and we remain on serve in the first set. 11:07AM Federer 6-2, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer is annoyed with himself when he misses a backhand for 30-15, so he quickly corrects things with a second serve ace. Gasquet then sends a backhand wide - game Federer. Gasquet will serve to stay in the second set. 11:05AM Federer* 6-2, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet does well to shrug that disappointment aside and hold to 30. It gets a little tense after Federer reels him back from 40-0 to 40-30, but a forehand winner up the line wraps up the game. No break points for either player this set. .@RogerFederer doing Roger Federer things��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/faK8vLYS4B— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:01AM Federer 6-2, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) That's arguably the backhand of the match, and it comes from Gasquet. He hits it from the forehand corner so it's technically an inside-out forehand, and it flies beyond Federer for 30-30. There's then a crazy moment as Gasquet challenges a Federer serve but is told Hawk-eye is not working. Gasquet is furious. The serve is called as an ace, and after Gasquet misses his return on the next point, it's game Federer. That's tough on the Frenchman - the serve may well have been in, but it's maddening not knowing. .@RichardGasquet1 starting to find his groove... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DUkxbJZi3a— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:57AM Federer* 6-2, 3-3 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent resolve from Gasquet. He's down 15-30 but lands two excellent serves and then knifes away a volley to hold to 30. 10:52AM Federer 6-2, 3-2 Gasquet* (*next server) No let up from Federer. He misses a couple of forehands in the game, but clever variety on the serve helps him to a hold to 30 - secured with an elegant drop volley. 10:49AM Federer* 6-2, 2-2 Gasquet (*next server) Credit Gasquet, he's continuing to chip away at this. An ace down the T secures a hold to 15. 10:45AM Federer 6-2, 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A double fault and a missed Federer volley give Gasquet a glimmer of a break at 30-30. But sure enough Fed then slams the door shut with a masterful drop shot and a service winner. Hard to see what Gasquet can do to stem the tide here - he just doesn't have the weapons to really hurt Federer. Credit: Getty Images 10:41AM Federer* 6-2, 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few charitable errors from Federer help Gasquet to a hold to 15. 10:38AM Federer 6-2, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) By winning that set, Federer has now won the last 20 sets that these two have played against each other. And a hold to 30 here maintains Fed's momentum at the start of the second. 10:35AM Federer* 6-2 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and first set Federer Wow, Federer storms to 0-30 with a gorgeous backhand winner up the line. The low camera at Melbourne Park caught Federer's perfect technique beautifully. Federer then hits a replica backhand winner on the next point to open up three set points at 0-40. Federer seems to be relishing the challenge of proving that his backhand is the fairest of them all. Gasquet saves the first set point, but he double faults on the second to gift his opponent the first set. Federer a set to the good after 27 minutes. Vintage @RogerFederer emerges from the single-handed backhand-off ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IZzP3ksjqn— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:30AM Federer 5-2 Gasquet* (*next server) Lovely stuff again from both men this game, with Gasquet more than playing his part. He produces arguably the shot of the match so far with a no-look flicked forehand pass after chasing down a drop volley. Federer continues to motor on though, and he holds with an ace out wide. Gasquet will serve to keep this entertaining first set alive. .@RichardGasquet1 outwits @RogerFederer with a cleverly disguised winner ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VbC2QfW7gK— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:27AM Federer* 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent service game from Gasquet as he holds to 15 with a service winner. Gasquet has got 84 per cent of his first serves in so far. 10:22AM Federer 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) Gasquet is actually playing really well here, and he produces a sumptuous backhand crosscourt pass for 15-30. Federer though has just been a little too good, reeling off the next three points to hold to 30. Fun match so far. Credit: Switzerland's Roger Federer hits a return against France's Richard Gasquet during their men's singles third round match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2018 10:19AM Federer* 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks Gasquet produces the first breathtaking single-handed backhand of the match, finding a crazily acute angle that spins so far wide that Federer is forced to hit his next shot outside of the tramlines. It makes the score 15-15, and though Gasquet then moves to 30-15, Federer comes up with a brilliant backhand of his own followed by a forehand winner to move up to 30-40 and break point. Gasquet saves it with the lesser-spotted backhand drive volley, but Federer forces another one moments later and takes this one with an inside-in forehand return winner. Genius. Class ��@RogerFederer with an early break in the first set. Leads 3-1.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aeSfrj7Bh2— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:12AM Federer 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple more errors from Federer this game, but he does enough to hold to 30. Gasquet trying to be positive with his returns when he can get a racket to the ball. 10:09AM Federer* 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few loose shots from Federer help Gasquet to a love hold of his own. 10:08AM Federer 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer kicks things off with a love hold. Expect a few more of these today. The game lasted just over a minute. 10:05AM Ready? Play Federer serving first. 10:02AM Players are out They're knocking up, and this exhibition match will be underway soon. It's a Super Saturday special on @RodLaverArena!@RogerFederer and @RichardGasquet1 set to clash in the battle of the beautiful backhands! ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/oTCzEpY9wB— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 9:48AM Next up Angelique Kerber has just thumped Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes. Roger Federer and Richard Gasquet are next on the Rod Laver Arena. 7:19AM Preamble Morning everyone, Welcome to the battle of the single-handed backhands, as 19-time grand slam champion Roger Federer takes on the 29th seed and former world No 7 Richard Gasquet. It's difficult to believe it now but when Gasquet stormed onto the ATP Tour as a teenager more than a decade ago, there was widespread belief that he was Federer's heir apparent. The beautiful shotmaking - especially that picture-book single-handed backhand - marked Gasquet out as a special talent, and he actually beat Federer the first time they met, in a three-set thriller in Monte Carlo. Gasquet was just 18 years old at the time, and had the look of a star in the making. Since then though, Gasquet has never quite kicked on, failing to reach a grand slam final and developing a reputation as a bit of a choker. His record against Federer has headed similarly south, with the Frenchman winning just one of the subsequent 17 meetings between the two since that Monte Carlo success. The problem Gasquet has when he plays Federer is that while they have similar styles, Federer just does everything that bit better. It's hard to really see where Gasquet can hurt his opponent today, especially given Federer has won the last 19 sets the two have played against one another. Richard Gasquet is known for his elegant single-handed backhand Credit: AP At the very least though, we should be in for a enjoyable exhibition of the dying art of single-handed backhands. After his second-round win on Thursday against Jan-Lennard Struff, Federer himself said he was looking forward to exchanging backhands with the similarly elegant Gasquet. "I love playing against one-handed guys because we need to keep it alive for as long as possible," Federer said. "I don't think I'll be teaching my kids to play like that." So enjoy these beautiful strokes while you can seems to be the message. Hopefully we'll be in for an entertaining match, but I'm expecting Federer to come through easily in straight sets.
Roger Federer reaches Australian Open fourth round for 16th time in career by ousting Richard Gasquet
Roger Federer eased into the second week of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet that kept the Swiss on course for a 20th grand slam title. The 36-year-old defending champion reached the fourth round of the Melbourne Park tournament for the 16th time by shifting up the gears when required to see off his French opponent in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena. Gasquet played a solid match, studded with his trademark occasional moments of shot-making brilliance, but that was never enough to overcome one of the best players of all time. Watched from the stands by 11-times grand slam champion Laver, second seed Federer sealed the victory with a backhand winner to set up a first career meeting with Hungarian Marton Fucsovics for a place in the quarter-finals. 12:06PM Game, set and match! Federer defeats Gasquet 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 Federer wants this done right here, punching away a volley for 0-30 and looking completely zoned in after a mixed couple of games. Gasquet though is not in the mood to fold, and he levels up at 30-30 with a crosscourt forehand winner. The Frenchman then has a point for 5-5 at 40-30, but Federer saves the game point with a heavy-topspin forehand. Federer then moves to match point with a trademark smash following an angled backhand crosscourt. Can Gasquet keep this match alive? Yes he can! A beautiful backhand winner up the line has us back at deuce. Gasquet then moves up to game point again, but Federer saves it with a sensational inside-in forehand return winner. Federer then earns a second match point with a backhand winner up the line of his own. And this time he takes it! Gasquet does well to put a volley into the corner, but Federer chases it down and flicks away another backhand winner up the line. After 1hr 59 min, Federer is through to the fourth round. .@RogerFederer is through to the 4R where he will face Marton #Fucsovics! ������ #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/d5SBpkoTuU— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:57AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Back to business for Federer as he holds to love. Gasquet will serve to stay in the match. 11:55AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Federer has snapped back to life this game, crunching a deep forehand return for 30-30. But Fed then misses his next two returns, and Gasquet holds. Three games in a row for the Frenchman. 11:51AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) - Gasquet breaks back Well what have we here? Federer wastes a couple of game points, and all of a sudden Gasquet is up break point at advantage after nailing a beautiful backhand winner up the line. It's his first break point of the match. What does Federer do in response? Serves an ace down the T of course. But Fed then sprays a forehand well wide, and Gasquet has a second break point chance. And this time he takes it, as Federer nets a backhand! Federer's level has just dropped a bit in the last few minutes. He looks a bit frustrated at some of the flashy shots his opponent is producing. Federer is broken for only the second time this tournament. Lovely stuff from Richard Gasquet ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ax08zpy49j— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 20, 2018 11:42AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) A brilliant Gasquet backhand half-volley is the highlight of a solid hold to 15. 11:39AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) How's this for a stat? Federer has got 85 per cent of his first serves in. Unbelievable rhythm from the 19-time grand slam champion. He's taken to deuce for the first time in the match here, but hits a brilliant inside-in forehand winner to complete the hold. Federer is just two games away from the fourth round. 11:35AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet stops the run of games against him at five, sealing a hold to 15 with an ace down the T. 11:31AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 3-0 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple of Federer errors let Gasquet into the game at 30-30, but a huge serve and a clincial smash seal another hold. Five straight games for Federer. 11:28AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 2-0 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks A double fault hands Federer what feels like two virtual match points at 15-40. Fed takes the first one with a clever drop shot. The fourth round is in sight for the reigning Australian Open champion. 11:24AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) You'd expect Federer to put his foot on the gas from here and go haring after the finish line, even though Gasquet is battling manfully. Fed holds to 15 to kick off the third set. 11:19AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and second set Federer Danger signs for Gasquet here. A brilliant forehand return winner on the stretch takes Federer to within two points of the first set at 15-30. And he gets to within one point after a screaming backhand pass down the line takes Federer to 30-40. Gasquet sprays a backhand long, and it's second set Federer! In typical style, Federer steps it up when he needs to, and establishes a two-set lead with his first break point of the set. It was these kinds of gems that earned @RogerFederer the second set �� He leads 6-2 7-5.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VshCRXlDj4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:13AM Federer 6-2, 6-5 Gasquet* (*next server) First "come on!" of the day from Federer, after he flicks away another sensational backhand winner crosscourt for 40-0. He eventually holds to 30, and Gasquet will serve to stay in the set for a second time. The single-handed backhand is a work of art... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/9I30il8m3c— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:10AM Federer* 6-2, 5-5 Gasquet (*next server) Impressive serving again from Gasquet, who's playing really well today. He holds to 15, and we remain on serve in the first set. 11:07AM Federer 6-2, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer is annoyed with himself when he misses a backhand for 30-15, so he quickly corrects things with a second serve ace. Gasquet then sends a backhand wide - game Federer. Gasquet will serve to stay in the second set. 11:05AM Federer* 6-2, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet does well to shrug that disappointment aside and hold to 30. It gets a little tense after Federer reels him back from 40-0 to 40-30, but a forehand winner up the line wraps up the game. No break points for either player this set. .@RogerFederer doing Roger Federer things��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/faK8vLYS4B— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:01AM Federer 6-2, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) That's arguably the backhand of the match, and it comes from Gasquet. He hits it from the forehand corner so it's technically an inside-out forehand, and it flies beyond Federer for 30-30. There's then a crazy moment as Gasquet challenges a Federer serve but is told Hawk-eye is not working. Gasquet is furious. The serve is called as an ace, and after Gasquet misses his return on the next point, it's game Federer. That's tough on the Frenchman - the serve may well have been in, but it's maddening not knowing. .@RichardGasquet1 starting to find his groove... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DUkxbJZi3a— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:57AM Federer* 6-2, 3-3 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent resolve from Gasquet. He's down 15-30 but lands two excellent serves and then knifes away a volley to hold to 30. 10:52AM Federer 6-2, 3-2 Gasquet* (*next server) No let up from Federer. He misses a couple of forehands in the game, but clever variety on the serve helps him to a hold to 30 - secured with an elegant drop volley. 10:49AM Federer* 6-2, 2-2 Gasquet (*next server) Credit Gasquet, he's continuing to chip away at this. An ace down the T secures a hold to 15. 10:45AM Federer 6-2, 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A double fault and a missed Federer volley give Gasquet a glimmer of a break at 30-30. But sure enough Fed then slams the door shut with a masterful drop shot and a service winner. Hard to see what Gasquet can do to stem the tide here - he just doesn't have the weapons to really hurt Federer. Credit: Getty Images 10:41AM Federer* 6-2, 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few charitable errors from Federer help Gasquet to a hold to 15. 10:38AM Federer 6-2, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) By winning that set, Federer has now won the last 20 sets that these two have played against each other. And a hold to 30 here maintains Fed's momentum at the start of the second. 10:35AM Federer* 6-2 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and first set Federer Wow, Federer storms to 0-30 with a gorgeous backhand winner up the line. The low camera at Melbourne Park caught Federer's perfect technique beautifully. Federer then hits a replica backhand winner on the next point to open up three set points at 0-40. Federer seems to be relishing the challenge of proving that his backhand is the fairest of them all. Gasquet saves the first set point, but he double faults on the second to gift his opponent the first set. Federer a set to the good after 27 minutes. Vintage @RogerFederer emerges from the single-handed backhand-off ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IZzP3ksjqn— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:30AM Federer 5-2 Gasquet* (*next server) Lovely stuff again from both men this game, with Gasquet more than playing his part. He produces arguably the shot of the match so far with a no-look flicked forehand pass after chasing down a drop volley. Federer continues to motor on though, and he holds with an ace out wide. Gasquet will serve to keep this entertaining first set alive. .@RichardGasquet1 outwits @RogerFederer with a cleverly disguised winner ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VbC2QfW7gK— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:27AM Federer* 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent service game from Gasquet as he holds to 15 with a service winner. Gasquet has got 84 per cent of his first serves in so far. 10:22AM Federer 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) Gasquet is actually playing really well here, and he produces a sumptuous backhand crosscourt pass for 15-30. Federer though has just been a little too good, reeling off the next three points to hold to 30. Fun match so far. Credit: Switzerland's Roger Federer hits a return against France's Richard Gasquet during their men's singles third round match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2018 10:19AM Federer* 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks Gasquet produces the first breathtaking single-handed backhand of the match, finding a crazily acute angle that spins so far wide that Federer is forced to hit his next shot outside of the tramlines. It makes the score 15-15, and though Gasquet then moves to 30-15, Federer comes up with a brilliant backhand of his own followed by a forehand winner to move up to 30-40 and break point. Gasquet saves it with the lesser-spotted backhand drive volley, but Federer forces another one moments later and takes this one with an inside-in forehand return winner. Genius. Class ��@RogerFederer with an early break in the first set. Leads 3-1.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aeSfrj7Bh2— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:12AM Federer 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple more errors from Federer this game, but he does enough to hold to 30. Gasquet trying to be positive with his returns when he can get a racket to the ball. 10:09AM Federer* 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few loose shots from Federer help Gasquet to a love hold of his own. 10:08AM Federer 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer kicks things off with a love hold. Expect a few more of these today. The game lasted just over a minute. 10:05AM Ready? Play Federer serving first. 10:02AM Players are out They're knocking up, and this exhibition match will be underway soon. It's a Super Saturday special on @RodLaverArena!@RogerFederer and @RichardGasquet1 set to clash in the battle of the beautiful backhands! ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/oTCzEpY9wB— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 9:48AM Next up Angelique Kerber has just thumped Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes. Roger Federer and Richard Gasquet are next on the Rod Laver Arena. 7:19AM Preamble Morning everyone, Welcome to the battle of the single-handed backhands, as 19-time grand slam champion Roger Federer takes on the 29th seed and former world No 7 Richard Gasquet. It's difficult to believe it now but when Gasquet stormed onto the ATP Tour as a teenager more than a decade ago, there was widespread belief that he was Federer's heir apparent. The beautiful shotmaking - especially that picture-book single-handed backhand - marked Gasquet out as a special talent, and he actually beat Federer the first time they met, in a three-set thriller in Monte Carlo. Gasquet was just 18 years old at the time, and had the look of a star in the making. Since then though, Gasquet has never quite kicked on, failing to reach a grand slam final and developing a reputation as a bit of a choker. His record against Federer has headed similarly south, with the Frenchman winning just one of the subsequent 17 meetings between the two since that Monte Carlo success. The problem Gasquet has when he plays Federer is that while they have similar styles, Federer just does everything that bit better. It's hard to really see where Gasquet can hurt his opponent today, especially given Federer has won the last 19 sets the two have played against one another. Richard Gasquet is known for his elegant single-handed backhand Credit: AP At the very least though, we should be in for a enjoyable exhibition of the dying art of single-handed backhands. After his second-round win on Thursday against Jan-Lennard Struff, Federer himself said he was looking forward to exchanging backhands with the similarly elegant Gasquet. "I love playing against one-handed guys because we need to keep it alive for as long as possible," Federer said. "I don't think I'll be teaching my kids to play like that." So enjoy these beautiful strokes while you can seems to be the message. Hopefully we'll be in for an entertaining match, but I'm expecting Federer to come through easily in straight sets.
Roger Federer eased into the second week of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet that kept the Swiss on course for a 20th grand slam title. The 36-year-old defending champion reached the fourth round of the Melbourne Park tournament for the 16th time by shifting up the gears when required to see off his French opponent in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena. Gasquet played a solid match, studded with his trademark occasional moments of shot-making brilliance, but that was never enough to overcome one of the best players of all time. Watched from the stands by 11-times grand slam champion Laver, second seed Federer sealed the victory with a backhand winner to set up a first career meeting with Hungarian Marton Fucsovics for a place in the quarter-finals. 12:06PM Game, set and match! Federer defeats Gasquet 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 Federer wants this done right here, punching away a volley for 0-30 and looking completely zoned in after a mixed couple of games. Gasquet though is not in the mood to fold, and he levels up at 30-30 with a crosscourt forehand winner. The Frenchman then has a point for 5-5 at 40-30, but Federer saves the game point with a heavy-topspin forehand. Federer then moves to match point with a trademark smash following an angled backhand crosscourt. Can Gasquet keep this match alive? Yes he can! A beautiful backhand winner up the line has us back at deuce. Gasquet then moves up to game point again, but Federer saves it with a sensational inside-in forehand return winner. Federer then earns a second match point with a backhand winner up the line of his own. And this time he takes it! Gasquet does well to put a volley into the corner, but Federer chases it down and flicks away another backhand winner up the line. After 1hr 59 min, Federer is through to the fourth round. .@RogerFederer is through to the 4R where he will face Marton #Fucsovics! ������ #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/d5SBpkoTuU— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:57AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Back to business for Federer as he holds to love. Gasquet will serve to stay in the match. 11:55AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Federer has snapped back to life this game, crunching a deep forehand return for 30-30. But Fed then misses his next two returns, and Gasquet holds. Three games in a row for the Frenchman. 11:51AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) - Gasquet breaks back Well what have we here? Federer wastes a couple of game points, and all of a sudden Gasquet is up break point at advantage after nailing a beautiful backhand winner up the line. It's his first break point of the match. What does Federer do in response? Serves an ace down the T of course. But Fed then sprays a forehand well wide, and Gasquet has a second break point chance. And this time he takes it, as Federer nets a backhand! Federer's level has just dropped a bit in the last few minutes. He looks a bit frustrated at some of the flashy shots his opponent is producing. Federer is broken for only the second time this tournament. Lovely stuff from Richard Gasquet ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ax08zpy49j— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 20, 2018 11:42AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) A brilliant Gasquet backhand half-volley is the highlight of a solid hold to 15. 11:39AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) How's this for a stat? Federer has got 85 per cent of his first serves in. Unbelievable rhythm from the 19-time grand slam champion. He's taken to deuce for the first time in the match here, but hits a brilliant inside-in forehand winner to complete the hold. Federer is just two games away from the fourth round. 11:35AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet stops the run of games against him at five, sealing a hold to 15 with an ace down the T. 11:31AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 3-0 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple of Federer errors let Gasquet into the game at 30-30, but a huge serve and a clincial smash seal another hold. Five straight games for Federer. 11:28AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 2-0 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks A double fault hands Federer what feels like two virtual match points at 15-40. Fed takes the first one with a clever drop shot. The fourth round is in sight for the reigning Australian Open champion. 11:24AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) You'd expect Federer to put his foot on the gas from here and go haring after the finish line, even though Gasquet is battling manfully. Fed holds to 15 to kick off the third set. 11:19AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and second set Federer Danger signs for Gasquet here. A brilliant forehand return winner on the stretch takes Federer to within two points of the first set at 15-30. And he gets to within one point after a screaming backhand pass down the line takes Federer to 30-40. Gasquet sprays a backhand long, and it's second set Federer! In typical style, Federer steps it up when he needs to, and establishes a two-set lead with his first break point of the set. It was these kinds of gems that earned @RogerFederer the second set �� He leads 6-2 7-5.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VshCRXlDj4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:13AM Federer 6-2, 6-5 Gasquet* (*next server) First "come on!" of the day from Federer, after he flicks away another sensational backhand winner crosscourt for 40-0. He eventually holds to 30, and Gasquet will serve to stay in the set for a second time. The single-handed backhand is a work of art... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/9I30il8m3c— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:10AM Federer* 6-2, 5-5 Gasquet (*next server) Impressive serving again from Gasquet, who's playing really well today. He holds to 15, and we remain on serve in the first set. 11:07AM Federer 6-2, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer is annoyed with himself when he misses a backhand for 30-15, so he quickly corrects things with a second serve ace. Gasquet then sends a backhand wide - game Federer. Gasquet will serve to stay in the second set. 11:05AM Federer* 6-2, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet does well to shrug that disappointment aside and hold to 30. It gets a little tense after Federer reels him back from 40-0 to 40-30, but a forehand winner up the line wraps up the game. No break points for either player this set. .@RogerFederer doing Roger Federer things��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/faK8vLYS4B— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:01AM Federer 6-2, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) That's arguably the backhand of the match, and it comes from Gasquet. He hits it from the forehand corner so it's technically an inside-out forehand, and it flies beyond Federer for 30-30. There's then a crazy moment as Gasquet challenges a Federer serve but is told Hawk-eye is not working. Gasquet is furious. The serve is called as an ace, and after Gasquet misses his return on the next point, it's game Federer. That's tough on the Frenchman - the serve may well have been in, but it's maddening not knowing. .@RichardGasquet1 starting to find his groove... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DUkxbJZi3a— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:57AM Federer* 6-2, 3-3 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent resolve from Gasquet. He's down 15-30 but lands two excellent serves and then knifes away a volley to hold to 30. 10:52AM Federer 6-2, 3-2 Gasquet* (*next server) No let up from Federer. He misses a couple of forehands in the game, but clever variety on the serve helps him to a hold to 30 - secured with an elegant drop volley. 10:49AM Federer* 6-2, 2-2 Gasquet (*next server) Credit Gasquet, he's continuing to chip away at this. An ace down the T secures a hold to 15. 10:45AM Federer 6-2, 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A double fault and a missed Federer volley give Gasquet a glimmer of a break at 30-30. But sure enough Fed then slams the door shut with a masterful drop shot and a service winner. Hard to see what Gasquet can do to stem the tide here - he just doesn't have the weapons to really hurt Federer. Credit: Getty Images 10:41AM Federer* 6-2, 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few charitable errors from Federer help Gasquet to a hold to 15. 10:38AM Federer 6-2, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) By winning that set, Federer has now won the last 20 sets that these two have played against each other. And a hold to 30 here maintains Fed's momentum at the start of the second. 10:35AM Federer* 6-2 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and first set Federer Wow, Federer storms to 0-30 with a gorgeous backhand winner up the line. The low camera at Melbourne Park caught Federer's perfect technique beautifully. Federer then hits a replica backhand winner on the next point to open up three set points at 0-40. Federer seems to be relishing the challenge of proving that his backhand is the fairest of them all. Gasquet saves the first set point, but he double faults on the second to gift his opponent the first set. Federer a set to the good after 27 minutes. Vintage @RogerFederer emerges from the single-handed backhand-off ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IZzP3ksjqn— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:30AM Federer 5-2 Gasquet* (*next server) Lovely stuff again from both men this game, with Gasquet more than playing his part. He produces arguably the shot of the match so far with a no-look flicked forehand pass after chasing down a drop volley. Federer continues to motor on though, and he holds with an ace out wide. Gasquet will serve to keep this entertaining first set alive. .@RichardGasquet1 outwits @RogerFederer with a cleverly disguised winner ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VbC2QfW7gK— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:27AM Federer* 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent service game from Gasquet as he holds to 15 with a service winner. Gasquet has got 84 per cent of his first serves in so far. 10:22AM Federer 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) Gasquet is actually playing really well here, and he produces a sumptuous backhand crosscourt pass for 15-30. Federer though has just been a little too good, reeling off the next three points to hold to 30. Fun match so far. Credit: Switzerland's Roger Federer hits a return against France's Richard Gasquet during their men's singles third round match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2018 10:19AM Federer* 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks Gasquet produces the first breathtaking single-handed backhand of the match, finding a crazily acute angle that spins so far wide that Federer is forced to hit his next shot outside of the tramlines. It makes the score 15-15, and though Gasquet then moves to 30-15, Federer comes up with a brilliant backhand of his own followed by a forehand winner to move up to 30-40 and break point. Gasquet saves it with the lesser-spotted backhand drive volley, but Federer forces another one moments later and takes this one with an inside-in forehand return winner. Genius. Class ��@RogerFederer with an early break in the first set. Leads 3-1.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aeSfrj7Bh2— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:12AM Federer 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple more errors from Federer this game, but he does enough to hold to 30. Gasquet trying to be positive with his returns when he can get a racket to the ball. 10:09AM Federer* 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few loose shots from Federer help Gasquet to a love hold of his own. 10:08AM Federer 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer kicks things off with a love hold. Expect a few more of these today. The game lasted just over a minute. 10:05AM Ready? Play Federer serving first. 10:02AM Players are out They're knocking up, and this exhibition match will be underway soon. It's a Super Saturday special on @RodLaverArena!@RogerFederer and @RichardGasquet1 set to clash in the battle of the beautiful backhands! ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/oTCzEpY9wB— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 9:48AM Next up Angelique Kerber has just thumped Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes. Roger Federer and Richard Gasquet are next on the Rod Laver Arena. 7:19AM Preamble Morning everyone, Welcome to the battle of the single-handed backhands, as 19-time grand slam champion Roger Federer takes on the 29th seed and former world No 7 Richard Gasquet. It's difficult to believe it now but when Gasquet stormed onto the ATP Tour as a teenager more than a decade ago, there was widespread belief that he was Federer's heir apparent. The beautiful shotmaking - especially that picture-book single-handed backhand - marked Gasquet out as a special talent, and he actually beat Federer the first time they met, in a three-set thriller in Monte Carlo. Gasquet was just 18 years old at the time, and had the look of a star in the making. Since then though, Gasquet has never quite kicked on, failing to reach a grand slam final and developing a reputation as a bit of a choker. His record against Federer has headed similarly south, with the Frenchman winning just one of the subsequent 17 meetings between the two since that Monte Carlo success. The problem Gasquet has when he plays Federer is that while they have similar styles, Federer just does everything that bit better. It's hard to really see where Gasquet can hurt his opponent today, especially given Federer has won the last 19 sets the two have played against one another. Richard Gasquet is known for his elegant single-handed backhand Credit: AP At the very least though, we should be in for a enjoyable exhibition of the dying art of single-handed backhands. After his second-round win on Thursday against Jan-Lennard Struff, Federer himself said he was looking forward to exchanging backhands with the similarly elegant Gasquet. "I love playing against one-handed guys because we need to keep it alive for as long as possible," Federer said. "I don't think I'll be teaching my kids to play like that." So enjoy these beautiful strokes while you can seems to be the message. Hopefully we'll be in for an entertaining match, but I'm expecting Federer to come through easily in straight sets.
Roger Federer reaches Australian Open fourth round for 16th time in career by ousting Richard Gasquet
Roger Federer eased into the second week of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet that kept the Swiss on course for a 20th grand slam title. The 36-year-old defending champion reached the fourth round of the Melbourne Park tournament for the 16th time by shifting up the gears when required to see off his French opponent in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena. Gasquet played a solid match, studded with his trademark occasional moments of shot-making brilliance, but that was never enough to overcome one of the best players of all time. Watched from the stands by 11-times grand slam champion Laver, second seed Federer sealed the victory with a backhand winner to set up a first career meeting with Hungarian Marton Fucsovics for a place in the quarter-finals. 12:06PM Game, set and match! Federer defeats Gasquet 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 Federer wants this done right here, punching away a volley for 0-30 and looking completely zoned in after a mixed couple of games. Gasquet though is not in the mood to fold, and he levels up at 30-30 with a crosscourt forehand winner. The Frenchman then has a point for 5-5 at 40-30, but Federer saves the game point with a heavy-topspin forehand. Federer then moves to match point with a trademark smash following an angled backhand crosscourt. Can Gasquet keep this match alive? Yes he can! A beautiful backhand winner up the line has us back at deuce. Gasquet then moves up to game point again, but Federer saves it with a sensational inside-in forehand return winner. Federer then earns a second match point with a backhand winner up the line of his own. And this time he takes it! Gasquet does well to put a volley into the corner, but Federer chases it down and flicks away another backhand winner up the line. After 1hr 59 min, Federer is through to the fourth round. .@RogerFederer is through to the 4R where he will face Marton #Fucsovics! ������ #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/d5SBpkoTuU— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:57AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Back to business for Federer as he holds to love. Gasquet will serve to stay in the match. 11:55AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Federer has snapped back to life this game, crunching a deep forehand return for 30-30. But Fed then misses his next two returns, and Gasquet holds. Three games in a row for the Frenchman. 11:51AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) - Gasquet breaks back Well what have we here? Federer wastes a couple of game points, and all of a sudden Gasquet is up break point at advantage after nailing a beautiful backhand winner up the line. It's his first break point of the match. What does Federer do in response? Serves an ace down the T of course. But Fed then sprays a forehand well wide, and Gasquet has a second break point chance. And this time he takes it, as Federer nets a backhand! Federer's level has just dropped a bit in the last few minutes. He looks a bit frustrated at some of the flashy shots his opponent is producing. Federer is broken for only the second time this tournament. Lovely stuff from Richard Gasquet ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ax08zpy49j— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 20, 2018 11:42AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) A brilliant Gasquet backhand half-volley is the highlight of a solid hold to 15. 11:39AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) How's this for a stat? Federer has got 85 per cent of his first serves in. Unbelievable rhythm from the 19-time grand slam champion. He's taken to deuce for the first time in the match here, but hits a brilliant inside-in forehand winner to complete the hold. Federer is just two games away from the fourth round. 11:35AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet stops the run of games against him at five, sealing a hold to 15 with an ace down the T. 11:31AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 3-0 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple of Federer errors let Gasquet into the game at 30-30, but a huge serve and a clincial smash seal another hold. Five straight games for Federer. 11:28AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5, 2-0 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks A double fault hands Federer what feels like two virtual match points at 15-40. Fed takes the first one with a clever drop shot. The fourth round is in sight for the reigning Australian Open champion. 11:24AM Federer 6-2, 7-5, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) You'd expect Federer to put his foot on the gas from here and go haring after the finish line, even though Gasquet is battling manfully. Fed holds to 15 to kick off the third set. 11:19AM Federer* 6-2, 7-5 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and second set Federer Danger signs for Gasquet here. A brilliant forehand return winner on the stretch takes Federer to within two points of the first set at 15-30. And he gets to within one point after a screaming backhand pass down the line takes Federer to 30-40. Gasquet sprays a backhand long, and it's second set Federer! In typical style, Federer steps it up when he needs to, and establishes a two-set lead with his first break point of the set. It was these kinds of gems that earned @RogerFederer the second set �� He leads 6-2 7-5.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VshCRXlDj4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:13AM Federer 6-2, 6-5 Gasquet* (*next server) First "come on!" of the day from Federer, after he flicks away another sensational backhand winner crosscourt for 40-0. He eventually holds to 30, and Gasquet will serve to stay in the set for a second time. The single-handed backhand is a work of art... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/9I30il8m3c— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:10AM Federer* 6-2, 5-5 Gasquet (*next server) Impressive serving again from Gasquet, who's playing really well today. He holds to 15, and we remain on serve in the first set. 11:07AM Federer 6-2, 5-4 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer is annoyed with himself when he misses a backhand for 30-15, so he quickly corrects things with a second serve ace. Gasquet then sends a backhand wide - game Federer. Gasquet will serve to stay in the second set. 11:05AM Federer* 6-2, 4-4 Gasquet (*next server) Gasquet does well to shrug that disappointment aside and hold to 30. It gets a little tense after Federer reels him back from 40-0 to 40-30, but a forehand winner up the line wraps up the game. No break points for either player this set. .@RogerFederer doing Roger Federer things��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/faK8vLYS4B— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 11:01AM Federer 6-2, 4-3 Gasquet* (*next server) That's arguably the backhand of the match, and it comes from Gasquet. He hits it from the forehand corner so it's technically an inside-out forehand, and it flies beyond Federer for 30-30. There's then a crazy moment as Gasquet challenges a Federer serve but is told Hawk-eye is not working. Gasquet is furious. The serve is called as an ace, and after Gasquet misses his return on the next point, it's game Federer. That's tough on the Frenchman - the serve may well have been in, but it's maddening not knowing. .@RichardGasquet1 starting to find his groove... ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DUkxbJZi3a— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:57AM Federer* 6-2, 3-3 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent resolve from Gasquet. He's down 15-30 but lands two excellent serves and then knifes away a volley to hold to 30. 10:52AM Federer 6-2, 3-2 Gasquet* (*next server) No let up from Federer. He misses a couple of forehands in the game, but clever variety on the serve helps him to a hold to 30 - secured with an elegant drop volley. 10:49AM Federer* 6-2, 2-2 Gasquet (*next server) Credit Gasquet, he's continuing to chip away at this. An ace down the T secures a hold to 15. 10:45AM Federer 6-2, 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A double fault and a missed Federer volley give Gasquet a glimmer of a break at 30-30. But sure enough Fed then slams the door shut with a masterful drop shot and a service winner. Hard to see what Gasquet can do to stem the tide here - he just doesn't have the weapons to really hurt Federer. Credit: Getty Images 10:41AM Federer* 6-2, 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few charitable errors from Federer help Gasquet to a hold to 15. 10:38AM Federer 6-2, 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) By winning that set, Federer has now won the last 20 sets that these two have played against each other. And a hold to 30 here maintains Fed's momentum at the start of the second. 10:35AM Federer* 6-2 Gasquet (*next server) - Game and first set Federer Wow, Federer storms to 0-30 with a gorgeous backhand winner up the line. The low camera at Melbourne Park caught Federer's perfect technique beautifully. Federer then hits a replica backhand winner on the next point to open up three set points at 0-40. Federer seems to be relishing the challenge of proving that his backhand is the fairest of them all. Gasquet saves the first set point, but he double faults on the second to gift his opponent the first set. Federer a set to the good after 27 minutes. Vintage @RogerFederer emerges from the single-handed backhand-off ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IZzP3ksjqn— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:30AM Federer 5-2 Gasquet* (*next server) Lovely stuff again from both men this game, with Gasquet more than playing his part. He produces arguably the shot of the match so far with a no-look flicked forehand pass after chasing down a drop volley. Federer continues to motor on though, and he holds with an ace out wide. Gasquet will serve to keep this entertaining first set alive. .@RichardGasquet1 outwits @RogerFederer with a cleverly disguised winner ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/VbC2QfW7gK— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:27AM Federer* 4-2 Gasquet (*next server) Excellent service game from Gasquet as he holds to 15 with a service winner. Gasquet has got 84 per cent of his first serves in so far. 10:22AM Federer 4-1 Gasquet* (*next server) Gasquet is actually playing really well here, and he produces a sumptuous backhand crosscourt pass for 15-30. Federer though has just been a little too good, reeling off the next three points to hold to 30. Fun match so far. Credit: Switzerland's Roger Federer hits a return against France's Richard Gasquet during their men's singles third round match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2018 10:19AM Federer* 3-1 Gasquet (*next server) - Federer breaks Gasquet produces the first breathtaking single-handed backhand of the match, finding a crazily acute angle that spins so far wide that Federer is forced to hit his next shot outside of the tramlines. It makes the score 15-15, and though Gasquet then moves to 30-15, Federer comes up with a brilliant backhand of his own followed by a forehand winner to move up to 30-40 and break point. Gasquet saves it with the lesser-spotted backhand drive volley, but Federer forces another one moments later and takes this one with an inside-in forehand return winner. Genius. Class ��@RogerFederer with an early break in the first set. Leads 3-1.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aeSfrj7Bh2— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 10:12AM Federer 2-1 Gasquet* (*next server) A couple more errors from Federer this game, but he does enough to hold to 30. Gasquet trying to be positive with his returns when he can get a racket to the ball. 10:09AM Federer* 1-1 Gasquet (*next server) A few loose shots from Federer help Gasquet to a love hold of his own. 10:08AM Federer 1-0 Gasquet* (*next server) Federer kicks things off with a love hold. Expect a few more of these today. The game lasted just over a minute. 10:05AM Ready? Play Federer serving first. 10:02AM Players are out They're knocking up, and this exhibition match will be underway soon. It's a Super Saturday special on @RodLaverArena!@RogerFederer and @RichardGasquet1 set to clash in the battle of the beautiful backhands! ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/oTCzEpY9wB— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2018 9:48AM Next up Angelique Kerber has just thumped Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes. Roger Federer and Richard Gasquet are next on the Rod Laver Arena. 7:19AM Preamble Morning everyone, Welcome to the battle of the single-handed backhands, as 19-time grand slam champion Roger Federer takes on the 29th seed and former world No 7 Richard Gasquet. It's difficult to believe it now but when Gasquet stormed onto the ATP Tour as a teenager more than a decade ago, there was widespread belief that he was Federer's heir apparent. The beautiful shotmaking - especially that picture-book single-handed backhand - marked Gasquet out as a special talent, and he actually beat Federer the first time they met, in a three-set thriller in Monte Carlo. Gasquet was just 18 years old at the time, and had the look of a star in the making. Since then though, Gasquet has never quite kicked on, failing to reach a grand slam final and developing a reputation as a bit of a choker. His record against Federer has headed similarly south, with the Frenchman winning just one of the subsequent 17 meetings between the two since that Monte Carlo success. The problem Gasquet has when he plays Federer is that while they have similar styles, Federer just does everything that bit better. It's hard to really see where Gasquet can hurt his opponent today, especially given Federer has won the last 19 sets the two have played against one another. Richard Gasquet is known for his elegant single-handed backhand Credit: AP At the very least though, we should be in for a enjoyable exhibition of the dying art of single-handed backhands. After his second-round win on Thursday against Jan-Lennard Struff, Federer himself said he was looking forward to exchanging backhands with the similarly elegant Gasquet. "I love playing against one-handed guys because we need to keep it alive for as long as possible," Federer said. "I don't think I'll be teaching my kids to play like that." So enjoy these beautiful strokes while you can seems to be the message. Hopefully we'll be in for an entertaining match, but I'm expecting Federer to come through easily in straight sets.
Russia's Maria Sharapova makes a backhand return to Germany's Angelique Kerber during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Kerber beats Sharapova in 3rd round; Halep in long-haul win
Russia's Maria Sharapova makes a backhand return to Germany's Angelique Kerber during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Germany's Angelique Kerber hits a forehand return to Russia's Maria Sharapova during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Kerber beats Sharapova in 3rd round; Halep in long-haul win
Germany's Angelique Kerber hits a forehand return to Russia's Maria Sharapova during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

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