Federer sets up another classic with old foe Safin

January 21st, 2009 - 8:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Roger FedererMelbourne, Jan 21 (DPA) Roger Federer showed his dominating form to best advantage with a crushing 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 defeat of Russian Evgeny Korolov to reach the third round of the Australian Open Wednesday.The Swiss second seed is on a mission as he aims to level on the all-time record of 14 Grand Slam titles, trailing Pete Sampras by one on 13.

The 27-year-old is playing with relaxed confidence after last year’s showing at Melbourne Park when he lost in the semi-final after suffering the effects of glandular fever.

“I tried to mix it up a bit today, just tried to hit with him,” he said of his win over the explosive 118th-ranked youngster. “It worked out well today, it was nice.

“I was happy the way I played. I knew it was going to be difficult because he takes a lot of risks. I’m happy the way I came up with a good game plan.”

The confident Federer joined former Melbourne winners Novak Djokovic (2008) and Marat Safin (2005) in advancing.

Federer and Safin will next meet in a classic showdown, the Swiss holding a 9-2 lead in their series and one of the Russian’s victories coming in the 2005 Melbourne semis on his way to that title. Federer has won their last two meetings at Wimbledon.

Safin advanced over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 7-5, 6-2, 6-2, showing no signs of recent neck soreness, firing 18 aces and breaking five times.

“I’m happy to play Roger, we’ve had some battles over the years,” said the Russian, who turns 29 later next week and insists this is his final season. “It will be a great match for third round. I hope we can come up with some good tennis.”

Third seed Djokovic said he can feel the improvement in his game as he gets stuck into his first major title defence, defeating Jeremy Chardy of France 7-5, 6-1, 6-3.

“I’m playing better and better, a very encouraging fact for me. I really stepped it up and played pretty good in the second and third set especially.

“I’m just paying attention in my games and my matches, it’s something that I planned to do. If I keep the high level of performance and good game, I will hopefully get far in the tournament.”

Women’s seeds advanced, with Serbs and Russians pacing the field.

It was a patchy wining performance for top seed Jelena Jankovic, who defeated Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 7-5, joining fifth-seeded compatriot Ana Ivanovic, last year’s losing finalist, a winner over Alberta Brianti.

“I was not really happy with my game, what I was doing on the court,” said Jankovic. “I have to clean up my game a little bit and try to do the right things for my next match.

“Overall I’m happy to get through.”

Third seed Dinara Safina, who could take over the top ranking spot from Jankovic with a title, kept her dream alive in a comeback against fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-0.

Safina recovered thanks to seven breaks from ten chances against her compatriot.

Number seven Vera Zvonareva beat Romanian Edina Gallovits 6-0, 6-0 while 10th seed Nadia Petrova rounded out the Russian wins with a defeat of India’s Sania Mirza 6-3,
6-2.

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