Roger Federer swiftly moves into 4th round at Aussie Open
3rd-seeded Swiss star easily beats American Fritz in straight sets
Roger Federer has played on Rod Laver Arena a hundred times and has six Australian Open crowns in his collection of 20 Grand Slam titles.
The 37-year-old tennis statesman has developed a loyal following over 20 consecutive visits for the season-opening major.
After beating 21-year-old American Taylor Fritz 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 on Friday on the center court at Melbourne Park, and reaching the Round of 16 at a Grand Slam tournament for the 63rd time, he raised his racket to the crowd. It was not unlike what a batter scoring a century would do to acknowledge 100 at the nearby Melbourne Cricket Ground.
He'll next play 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas, who draws a big, vocal crowd to Melbourne Park.
"I think I wanted to get out of the blocks quickly. I knew of the threat of Taylor," said Federer, who has won 97 of his 110 matches overall at Melbourne Park. "I think I had extra focus today."
WATCH | Highlights from Federer's victory:
Tsitsipas had a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4 win over Nikoloz Basilashvili earlier on Margaret Court Arena to become the first Greek man to reach the fourth round at multiple majors. He reached the same round at Wimbledon last year.
Big sections of Greeks sang and waved the blue and white flag and scarves in the crowd. Melbourne has the highest concentration of Greek people of any city outside of Greece, and is getting a lot of attention.
"I'm delighted," he said. "I feel so comfortable. I feel like playing at home.
"It's exciting to have such an atmosphere. I never get to play with so many Greek people supporting me ... and, and, and, Australians!"
Nadal ousts another Aussie
Rafael Nadal has 19-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur's number — or numbers, really, and they are 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
Nadal's victory over de Minaur in the third round of the Australian Open came by that score, as did the 17-major champion's win when the two met at Wimbledon last year.
De Minaur came into the Australian Open on a high having won the Sydney International last week but was outclassed by Nadal, who will play Tomas Berdych in the fourth round.
It was Nadal's third match in a row against an Australian, having beaten James Duckworth and Matthew Ebden in the first two rounds.
"Even playing against an Australian like Alex, I feel like the crowd — some part of the crowd — is with me," said Nadal, the 2009 Australian Open champion.
Down goes the champ
Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki is out of the Australian Open after losing 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to Maria Sharapova in the third round.
Sharapova broke Wozniacki's serve in the seventh game of the third set with a forehand to the open corner, then dropped both arms and screamed in delight.
She held serve in the next game to lead 5-3, then broke Wozniacki's service again in the last game, clinching the match on her second match point when Wozniacki's backhand return went wide.
Five-time major winner Sharapova, the 2008 Australian Open winner, will play Australia's Ash Barty in the fourth round.
While rain prevented early play on outside courts at Melbourne Park for the first 2 1/2 hours of Day 5, matches went ahead on the show courts. At one stage, Greek fans had to split their time between the adjoining Rod Laver and Margaret Court Arenas.
There was no split loyalties on Rod Laver, where local favorite Ash Barty became the first player through to the fourth round a 7-5, 6-1 win over Maria Sakkari.
It was first time a Greek man and woman have advanced to the third round at the same Grand Slam tournament since 1936.
Barty continued the so-called "Barty Party" by ending Sakkari's run, and will play either former champion Maria Sharapova or defending champion Caroline Wozniacki in the next round.
In the only other completed match by early afternoon, 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych beat No. 18-seeded Diego Schwartzman 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. Berdych, who has reached the quarterfinals or better in seven of his previous eight trips to Melbourne Park, will meet either 2009 champion Rafael Nadal or local favorite Alex de Minaur in the next round.