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Federer outguns Dimitrov to become first man to reach 300 Grand Slam wins

The 17-time major winner has reached the round of 16 in Melbourne for the 14th time in his past 15 appearances.

Swiss great Roger Federer
Swiss great Roger Federer
Image: GREG WOOD

Updated at 10.00

SWISS GREAT ROGER Federer swept past Grigor Dimitrov to bring up 300 Grand Slam match wins and safely reach the fourth round at the Australian Open.

The 17-time major winner and third seed won 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in two hours, 40 minutes under the closed roof on Rod Laver Arena and will face Belgium’s 15th seed David Goffin in the next round.

Federer becomes the first man to win 300 Grand Slam matches and extends his record over Bulgarian 27th seed Dimitrov, dubbed “Baby Fed” because of the similarity in their playing styles, to 5-0.

Last year Federer was ambushed in the third round by Italian Andreas Seppi, but he made no mistake this time at the same stage against Dimitrov.

But it wasn’t an entirely convincing display from the four-time Australian Open winner who committed an uncharacteristic 55 unforced errors, much more than Dimitrov’s 44.

“It was a difficult position for me after losing the second set and Grigor was playing well. I thought I was struggling a little bit,” Federer said.

I didn’t feel it was really happening out there and it was an important start for me to the third set.

“Thankfully I got the early break and I was able to stay in the lead and everything started to come back, the serve, my footwork. It was complicated, but those matches are even nicer to win, I must say.”

Federer only lost his serve once in 18 service games and broke the Bulgarian’s serve four times, twice in the third set, with Dimitrov troubled by a sore right elbow and losing serving power.

He sought courtside treatment from the trainer several times during the match.

Dimitrov was bidding to reach the round of 16 at the Open for the third straight year including making the quarter-finals in 2014, where he lost to Rafael Nadal.

Source: Tennis Master101/YouTube

Elsewhere in the men’s draw, there were wins for Kei Nishikori, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Goffin.

Sharapova

Earlier, Maria Sharapova admitted her third-round win over Lauren Davis was tougher than it should have been after her roller-coaster performance.

The Russian fifth seed eventually secured a 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-0 win over Davis after an inconsistent display on Rod Laver Arena.

In the first and third sets, Sharapova combined 25 winners with nine unforced errors, but she had 19 and 33 respectively in the second. The five-time Grand Slam champion rued the second set despite still progressing.

Australian Open Tennis Maria Sharapova was far from her best today. Source: Aaron Favila

“I felt like I made it a little bit more difficult than I should have. I definitely had a let-up at 2-1, 30-0,” Sharapova said.

“You know, I felt like I was hitting the ball well, doing the right things to get in that position, then letup. In a Grand Slam environment against anyone you can’t expect to get away with it, and I didn’t in the second set.

Awaiting Sharapova in the fourth round is Belinda Bencic, the Swiss teenager having overcome Kateryna Bondarenko 4-6 6-2 6-4 earlier.

World number one Serena Williams also marched into the fourth round, showing no mercy in a 6-1, 6-1 demolition of hapless teenager Daria Kasatkina.

The six-time Melbourne Park winner and defending champion easily out-muscled the overawed Russian on Rod Laver Arena in just 44 minutes, the shortest match of the tournament so far.

It sets her up with a fourth-round clash against another Russian, Margarita Gasparyan, with a quarter-final beckoning against old foe Sharapova — a showdown Williams would be confident of winning.

She has beaten Sharapova in every match they have played since 2004.

Williams won three majors — the Australian and French Opens and Wimbledon — last year which took her to within one of Steffi Graf’s long-time record of 22.

She claimed her first Australian Open title in 2003, beating sister Venus in the final, and reached her sixth last year when she toppled Sharapova.

Elsewhere, Agnieszka Radwanska was too good for Monica Puig in their third-round clash, though there will be concerns about the fourth seed’s fitness.

Radwanska overcame Puig 6-4 6-0 to secure a sixth successive fourth-round berth at Melbourne Park.

However, slightly concerning for Radwanska — who had to withdraw from the Sydney International due to a leg injury — was the fact she required medical attention on the same area on three occasions in the second set.

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