Robredo next stop for Federer express
Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return to Xavier Malisse of Belgium during their match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 21, 2011.
Credit: Reuters/Tim Wimborne
By Alastair Himmer
MELBOURNE | Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:11am EST
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Roger Federer will be an overwhelming favorite to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals for the eighth year in a row when he faces Spain's Tommy Robredo on Sunday.
The Swiss, a four-times Melbourne champion and the reigning title holder, has a 9-0 career record against Robredo who should prove no more than a stepping stone toward another meeting with Spanish nemesis Rafa Nafal in the final.
Federer, who has been putting a positive spin on his form since being taken to five sets by France's Gilles Simon in the second round, despite some wobbles on the forehand.
"I always say you can't win a grand slam in the first week but you can lose it," said the former world number one after beating Belgian Xavier Malisse to reach the fourth round.
Federer, seeded two, is attempting to extend his own record grand slam singles tally to 17 at the year's first major.
World number one Nadal, meanwhile, is bidding to become only the third man, and the first since 1969, to hold all four grand slam titles at once. He stayed on course with a straight sets victory over Australian upstart Bernard Tomic on Saturday.
Women's number one Caroline Wozniacki continues her quest for a maiden grand slam title, and the recognition she craves, when she opens the Rod Laver program against Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova in the last 16.
The Dane mischievously produced a "Rafa Benitez"-style piece of paper which she read out to reporters who often accuse her of being "boring" after her last match.
Wozniacki challenged them to "ask me something different" and promptly held court over a variety of subjects, including her favorite soccer team Liverpool.