Classy Federer too good for Gasquet in Melbourne
Roger Federer was at his graceful best as he outclassed Richard Gasquet 6-2 7-5 6-4 to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open on Saturday.
Defending champion Federer, looking to claim a 20th career grand slam in Melbourne, produced a trademark performance against the 29th seed, who has never been past round four at the tournament.
Federer had already beaten Aljaz Bedene and Jan Lennard-Struff without dropping a set and was again in imperious form against an opponent he has now beaten 17 times and not lost to since 2011.
The evergreen 36-year-old can now look forward to a last-16 meeting against Marton Fucsovics.
The match started at a relentless pace, but Federer soon gained the initiative. An unforced error followed by a weak second serve from Gasquet allowed the Swiss to emphatically hammer home a forehand down the line for the first break.
Federer was at his irrepressible best with Gasquet struggling to land a glove on his opponent, and in game eight a down-the-line backhand of typical effortless grace set the marker for a second break and the set, which was sealed by a limp double fault by the Frenchman.
It was a much tighter contest in the second set, with Gasquet clinically disposing several shots, but break-point opportunities were not forthcoming.
And when he served to stay in the set, Gasquet was undone by some vintage Federer play. A whipped forehand brought up break point and, after relentless pressure, a long forehand saw the Swiss take a two-set lead.
Gasquet had more winners and fewer errors in that set, but was staring down the barrel after surrendering serve at the first opportunity in the third - a costly double fault subsequently punished by a fine drop shot.
To his credit, Gasquet refused to wilt and pounced on a sloppy Federer service game to break back in game seven.
Federer soon reapplied the pressure, though, and wrapped up victory on his second match point with a backhand winner.
Federer  bt Gasquet  6-2 7-5 6-4
Federer - 42/30
Gasquet - 27/16
Federer - 12/1
Gasquet - 3/3
BREAK POINTS WON
Federer - 5/8
Gasquet - 1/2
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Federer - 65
Gasquet - 68
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Federer - 80/42
Gasquet - 67/41
Federer - 100
Gasquet - 84