Melbourne - Roger Federer came through a tough
test against big-serving giant Ivo Karlovic on Friday to reach the
fourth round of the Australian Open 7-6 (8/6), 7-5, 6-3.
contest dominated by serve, Croatia's Karlovic let slip a golden chance
to take a shock lead against the 16-time grand slam champion,
squandering a set point on his own serve in the first set tie-break.
made no mistake, taking his first opportunity to clinch the 53-minute
opener. And he rarely looked troubled after that, breaking Karlovic once
in each of sets two and three.
"Obviously I knew going in it was
going to be tough," said Federer, when asked about the challenge of
facing the 6ft 10ins (2.08 metres) Karlovic, who holds the record for
the fastest serve in the game.
"I knew it could come down to a few
here and there and obviously you need a bit of luck," he said, adding:
"I definitely got a bit fortunate and I started to play better as the
match went on."
Serve continued to dominate in the second set but
Federer seized his opportunity to break Karlovic in the 12th game, when
the Croat went long with a forehand on Federer's second set point.
was a similar story in the third set as Federer broke for the second
time in the match to set up a fourth-round clash with either Bernard
Tomic of Australia or Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine.
30, who came into the clash with a 9-1 head-to-head record against his
57th-ranked opponent, is bidding to become only the second man to win
five Australian Open singles titles, after Roy Emerson.
Karlovic's record serve, at a Davis Cup tie in 2011, was measured at 251 kilometres per hour (156 miles per hour).
seed Federer finished 2011 on a 17-match winning streak after winning
titles in Basel, Paris and the ATP World Tour Finals.