Roger Federer navigated a tricky second round clash against Alexandr Dolgopolov only to set up another potential banana skin against Grigor Dimitrov in the third round at the Australian Open

Federer to face Dimitrov in third round



Originally published on 20/01/16 00:00

The Swiss reached the third round in Melbourne for a 17th successive year with a 6-3 7-5 6-1 victory on Rod Laver Arena, but despite the straight-sets win, Federer believes his opponent is stronger than his ranking suggests.

“I’m a big fan of his game,” said Federer. “He’s explosive, got a great return especially on the second serve. He’s got all the shots. Just for him managing how to use what at what time.

“I’m very pleased with this win. I think it’s a tough second round. In my opinion he’s better than a lot of the guys who are ranked ahead of him.”

Currently ranked No.35, Dolgopolov is one of the highest-ranked unseeded players in the draw and was ranked as high as No.13 in 2012.

It is a similar story with Federer’s next opponent, No.27 seed Grigor Dimitrov, who was ranked No.8 in 2014 but slipped down the rankings last season.

The Bulgarian, who needed four sets to defeat Argentinean qualifier Marco Trungelliti 6-3 4-6 6-2 7-5, appears to have rediscovered some form in 2016, taking a set off Federer in Brisbane and reaching in the final in Sydney last week.

“He’s on a high right now,” Federer said. “It’s a tough draw to be honest. He’s got the game to be really dangerous. He’s fit enough for a five-setter so I’ve definitely got to bring my best game to the court on Friday.”

Elsewhere at Melbourne Park, there were straight sets wins for Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic, while David Goffin and Dominic Thiem won their second round matches against Damir Dzumhur and Nicolas Almagro respectively to set up an intriguing third round clash.

Tomas Berdych, a 6-4 6-0 6-3 winner against Mirza Basic, will face Nick Kyrgios in another high-profile third round clash after the Australian defeated Pablo Cuevas 6-4 7-5 7-6(2).


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