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Federer Sees Off Tomic, Faces Raonic Next

Melbourne, Australia

Federer© Getty ImagesRoger Federer set a fourth-round clash with Milos Raonic after beating Bernard Tomic.

World No. 2 and four-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer claimed his 250th Grand Slam championship win on Saturday night in Melbourne as he ended the hopes of Australian No. 1 Bernard Tomic with a 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-1 victory in the third round.

"I had to be able to bring the whole repertoire to the court today, defence and offence, which I enjoy," said Federer, adding that Tomic had vastly improved.

"I've never seen him play offensive tennis against me in the past," commented Federer, adding that Tomic needs to work on maintaining his level of play for the entire season. "We play 10, 11 months of the year, it's [about bringing] it every single day."

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Tomic came into the clash in confident mood, having won his first ATP World Tour title at the Apia International Sydney (d. Anderson) a week earlier, and looked set to split sets with Federer when he led 4-1 in the second set tie-break. 

Seventeen-time Grand Slam champion Federer fought back, though, and won six of the next seven points to take a commanding lead in the match. From there, he broke Tomic twice in the third set to wrap up victory in just under two hours. The Swiss converted only three of his 16 break points, but hit 46 winners, including 11 aces.

"I thought it was a really good match," said Tomic. "The first two sets we played really good tennis. It came down to one point, I think. I was pretty satisfied with my tennis. I was competing out there, trying to hang in there with him. He just came up with good stuff when he really needed it the most."

The 31-year-old Federer is bidding to add to his Australian Open trophies in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2010 and goes onto face another upcoming ATP World Tour star, Milos Raonic. The Canadian No. 13 seed, who revealed he had been suffering from a fever the past two days, fired 23 aces to defeat Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 52 minutes.

"He's obviously got one of the best serves in the game," Federer said, describing Raonic who has landed 71 aces this week compared to Federer's 23. "You always feel, especially after an off season like the one we've just had, he's maybe improved again a few things," said Federer, who is ready for the unexpected.

The 22-year-old Raonic, who made his breakthrough with a fourth-round showing as a qualifier in Melbourne two years ago (l. to Ferrer), will look to record his first win in four attempts against Federer. Their past two contests, at the Mutua Madrid Open and the Gerry Weber Open in 2012, were settled in third-set tie-breaks.

"I think I played well in the other ones," said Raonic. "I think I got pretty damn close the one time in Madrid. I got pretty close in Halle. I just know how to deal with it. I think I have a higher tolerance within myself and a higher belief within myself stepping up against Roger. 

"I think against Roger, one thing that has sort of worked well for me, I try as much as I can not to play on Roger's terms, to play on my own terms."

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©Erika Tanaka

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