Roger Federer produces straight sets Australian Open masterclass against Taylor Fritz as Swiss ace takes step closer to defending his title
- Roger Federer eased aside 21-year-old American star Taylor Fritz 6-2, 7-5, 6-2
- The former world No 1 produced a stunningly clinical first set in just 20 minutes
- Next up for the defending champion is highly-rated Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas
Roger Federer’s bid to retain his Australian Open crown showed no signs of derailing under the roof of the Rod Laver Arena as he produced a masterclass for American ace Taylor Fritz.
The Swiss star, who beat Marin Cilic to take the title 12 months ago in Melbourne, kept up his run so far this year of not dropping a single set as he beat Fritz 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 in 90 minutes.
At 21, Fritz is still on a steep incline both in terms of the rankings and also in his all-round game.
But as dominant as the score-line reads and the performance proved out to be, the American will be better for it by the time the next Grand Slam rolls around in May in Paris.
Federer needed just 20 minutes to win the first set, breaching the serve of his opponent sooner than he may have anticipated. Fritz simply could not handle the ferocity of Federer’s forehand returns in the early stages.
Rain delays are few and far between at the Australian Open, with temperatures regularly soaring from the first game until the last each day.
But consistent showers caused havoc for organisers during the day session with games on the outside courts brought to a halt, leading to a decision to close the roof on the Rod Laver Arena.
The conditions are said to be heavier and while that troubled both Ashleigh Barty and Maria Sakkari who were on court first, Federer has plenty of experiences to lean on as he showed no signs of discomfort.
Fritz, who will no doubt have studied Federer’s last match in the tournament – a tough encounter against returning Briton Dan Evans – and the second set proved a much more competitive affair, eventually losing to a late break of serve 7-5.
But the American’s resistance was to be short-lived. Federer quickly wrangled back control, as he has so many times through the years, and wrapped up a 6-2 final set in XX minutes to comfortably take a step closer to the final.
Tennis is beginning to see a breakthrough of highly-rated young talents, Fritz part of that group, but Federer’s serene quality is further proof that the current top trio of himself, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will not be dethroned with ease.
Next up for the Swiss is 20-year-old Greek phenomenon Stefanos Tsitsipas after he came through a thrilling four-set match against Nikoloz Basilashvili on the Margaret Court Arena.
More to follow.