Melbourne - Familiarity won't be breeding contempt for Roger
Federer as the defending champion lines up for his fifth Australian Open match
against long-time rival Tomas Berdych.
The Swiss star charged into his 14th Australian Open
quarter-final with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 win against Hungary's Marton Fucsovics
in just over two hours on Rod Laver Arena on Monday.
Federer will be facing Berdych for the 26th time overall in
Wednesday's last eight match, holding a 19-6 lead over him dating back to 2004.
The 19-time Grand Slam champion, who hasn't lost in four
matches against Berdych in Melbourne, won't be taking the big-serving Czech for
granted nor relying solely on past performances.
"I did watch a little bit of Tomas's win against Fabio
Fognini today and I saw a little bit of him against Juan Martin del
Potro," he said.
"For me, I think personally it is important to see a
little bit just because he might be using different weapons this week.
"He might be taking the ball earlier or later or
serving different patterns, so it's good to know.
"Of course, the coaches are going to get more in depth
into Tomas's game, and I will absorb the information that I get back from them.
"But sometimes it is good to see for myself a little
bit, because I have the feeling of having played him but also see him play. I
think that combination is important for a player."
Federer chalked up his 52nd Grand Slam quarter-final in
beating Fucsovics, the most in the post-1968 Open Era.
It was the Swiss legend's first meeting with the Hungarian,
who spent a few days in the off-season training with him in Switzerland.
"I thought he played very well. It was fast conditions,
you have to have quick ideas and execute well and I thought he did that very
well," Federer said of his unheralded opponent.
"Being two sets down is never easy, but I thought he
was playing very clean, solid and I had a hard time breaking through until two
sets and a break up."
Federer's latest victory was his 91st in Melbourne to make
the Australian Open his joint most successful Grand Slam in terms of matches
won along with Wimbledon.
He wasn't expected to encounter too much trouble with
Fucsovics and so it proved with three service breaks, and no break points on
his own service along with 34 winners.
Federer is coming off an extraordinary 2017, when he won a
fifth Australian Open title and a record eighth at Wimbledon, after returning
from an injury lay-off.
The 36-year-old is bidding to win his 20th Grand Slam title
and is the oldest man to reach the last eight at a major since American Jimmy
Connors (39 years) at the 1991 US Open.
It was in Melbourne a year ago where he lit the fuse on his
late-life tennis renaissance, beating Berdych, Kei Nishikori, Mischa Zverev and
Stan Wawrinka before downing great rival Rafael Nadal in a five-set final