Federer thrills after another Evans upset in Melbourne

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Roger Federer produced Friday's standout performance at Melbourne Park to set up a mouthwatering last-16 tie with Kei Nishikori, as world number one Andy Murray continued his straightforward progress in the Australian Open.

A third-round meeting with 10th seed Tomas Berdych had been anticipated to provide a tough test for Federer, who only recently returned from a six-month injury lay-off and appeared rusty in his opening matches this week.

However, the Swiss raised his level significantly to thrash Berdych 6-2 6-4 6-4 and raise hopes that an 18th grand slam title may yet be within his reach.

Federer and Nishikori, who beat Lukas Lacko 6-4 6-4 6-4, will now meet on Sunday, with the winner in line to face Murray in the quarter-finals providing the latter gets past Mischa Zverev.

Murray maintained his record of not dropping a set this week as he overcame Sam Querrey, while there was a notable success for another Briton, Dan Evans beating Bernard Tomic - the last remaining home hope in the men's singles.

 

NUMBERS TELL STORY OF FEDERER DOMINANCE

Federer's outstanding display was reflected in the match statistics for his contest with Berdych - the 35-year-old's dominance clear for all to see.

Remarkably, Federer gave up only two points out of 41 on his first serve, while his tally of 40 winners dwarfed his unforced error count of 17.

"I was ready for a battle, five hours, something big," said Federer in his post-match news conference.

The reality was very different.

 

MURRAY CONTENT WITH TREND OF IMPROVEMENT

Murray proved far too strong in a 6-4 6-2 6-4 victory over Querrey and went on to express satisfaction with his progress thus far.

"I think I have played a little bit better each match," said the top seed - a five-time losing finalist in Melbourne.

"There's not been one thing I've been delighted with. I thought I moved much better today than I did in the first two matches, which is really positive for me. Hopefully I keep getting better."

 

EVANS BUILDS ON CILIC UPSET

After ousting seventh seed Marin Cilic in round two, Evans broke new ground by beating Tomic in three tight sets to reach round four of a grand slam for the first time.

A 7-5 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-3) success put Evans through to face another seed in Jo-Wilfried-Tsonga, who beat Jack Sock in four sets.

Stan Wawrinka - the 2014 Australian Open champion - and his next opponent, Andreas Seppi, each came from a set down on Friday, while Zverev got the better of Malek Jaziri to earn a meeting with Murray.

 

NADAL, RAONIC HEADLINE SATURDAY SCHEDULE

The last-16 line-up will be finalised on Saturday when eight matches in the lower half of the draw take place.

Rafael Nadal and Milos Raonic each face potentially tricky ties, against Alexander Zverev and Gilles Simon respectively, while Denis Istomin - the shock second-round conqueror of reigning champion Novak Djokovic - faces 30th seed Pablo Carreno Busta.