Roger continued his quest for a sixth Australian Open crown on Thursday at Melbourne Park as he saw off German hard-hitter Jan-Lennard Struff in straight sets. The pair had met before just once at Halle where Federer brushed the German aside in two tight sets 6-4, 7-6. The underdog displayed some inspiring attacking tennis inside Rod Laver Arena but Federer’s consistency proved to great a task and the Swiss booked his place in the third round after one hour and 55 minutes, the scoreline reading 6-4, 6-4, 7-6.

The five time champion set the tone for the match with some spectacular shotmaking early on and soon started to assert his authority on the court.

Soon after, Federer created his first breakpoint opportunity with Struff serving at 1 game all but failed to put the backhand return into play. Nevertheless, the breakthrough was not much longer to be waited for as Federer broke the Struff serve with a carefully placed forehand pass up the line to take the lead in the first set 3-2. After this initial breakthrough Federer kept holding serve quite comfortably with a percentage of 72% on the first serve, preventing his opponent from creating any breakpoint chances. Both players hardly broke sweat during the first set, which Federer sealed in familiar manner with an ace after 33 minutes, because play was dominated by brief, yet intense rallies that the Swiss more often than not was able to decide in his favor.
Federer stretching to make a play on a backhand

Struff felt the pressure early on in the second set as he faced breakpoints at 1 game all. This time however, he managed to fend of both in the most outrageous of manners. Regardless of the German’s fierce resistence the Fed Express rolled on as the Swiss Maestro secured the decisive break at 3 games all with another beautiful backhand winner past the German who kept rushing the net throughout the match. Few minutes later, the reigning champion obtained a two sets to love lead by smashing a heavy forehand winner cross court that the German could only watch fly by.

The third set saw the underdog becoming more stable from the baseline off both wings and constantly throwing thunderbolts of forehand and backhands at Federer. Finally, some of the hard effort invested by the 27 year old was rewarded. He broke Federer’s serve for the first time and grabbed a 3-1 lead. Federer seemed to understand the significance of the moment and broke back immediately to level the match. Regardless of Federer’s determination to put the match to bed, Struff’s star continued to rise as his confidence grew, repeatedly echoed in the firepower of his strokes. Struff managed to hold Federer off for long with him saving two breakpoints at 5 games all, until a tiebreak was to decide matters in which the Swiss played ruthlessly and finished the match with a service winner out wide. Final score: 6-4, 6-4, 7-6. Federer thus swiftly advances to the third round setting up an encounter with Richard Gasquet, the Frenchman with that beautiful backhand we would all like to have.

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