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Federer continues to set new marks

Timeless Roger Federer has continued to rewrite tennis history at the Australian Open.

The 36-year-old bettered his own mark set last year as the oldest man since Ken Rosewall in 1977 to reach the quarter-finals with a commanding 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 win over Hungarian Marton Fucsovics on Monday.

It came 16 years after Federer beat Fucsovics’ coach Attila Savolt in the second round at the Melbourne Park, 18 months before the Swiss master won the first of his record haul of 19 major titles.

Federer’s next opponent, on Wednesday, will be Czech No.19 seed Tomas Berdych, who eased past Italian Fabio Fognini 6-1 6-4 6-4 in their fourth-round encounter.

Fucsovics held his own against Federer for much of the opening two sets on Monday, only for the world No.2 to take control when it really mattered.

As impressive as it is that Federer is still contending for major titles in his mid-30s, he still has some way to go to match the remarkable record of the legendary Rosewall.

The Australian was 43 when he last made it through to the quarters at the Open 41 years ago.

Federer will start as the red-hot favourite in his quarter-final against Berdych, having won the past eight meetings between the pair dating back to 2013 – including at Melbourne Park in 2016 and 2017.

“I’ve seen his matches,” said five-time Open champ Federer.

“(Berdych) is standing up in the court hitting the big shots.

“I’m happy for him. He had some back issues late last year and that slowed him down, I think.

“We had a good match here. Well, I had a good match against him in the third round last year.

“I’m sure he wants to do it the other way around and make me pay for that one.”

Berdych is also a familiar figure in the second week at the Open, having reached the quarter-finals or better in seven of the past eight years.

He was far too good for the 25th-seeded Fognini, who was bidding to book a spot in the last eight at a major for only the second time in 39 attempts.

But he is only too well aware that tackling Federer is another matter altogether.

“I’m definitely going to go out there, try my best, try to play good tennis, and believe myself that I can do it,” Berdych said.

“I did it in the past, and also I did it in the slams, so I know how it is to beat him in best-of-five sets.

“But obviously he’s an extremely tough opponent.”

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