WORLD No1 Roger Federer remained on course for an incredible 16th Grand Slam title after turning on the style to beat home favourite Lleyton Hewitt in Melbourne.
The Swiss star hardly broke sweat to claim a resounding 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 victory and book a quarter-final date with sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko, who saw off Fernando Verdasco in a five-set thriller.
Federer described his performance level as “very high” against Hewitt, but knows he will have to up his game further against in-form Davydenko, who has got the better of him in their last two encounters.
“He played very well the last couple of times we’ve played,” Federer said. “I’ve always had tough ones against him. He’s really picked up his game, he used to have issues on serve but now that’s gone. I just hope I can get the better of him in five-set play.”
Russian Davydenko had to withstand a strong second-half fightback from ninth seed Verdasco to clinch a 6-2, 7-5, 4-6, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3 win in the Rod Laver Arena. He added: “Mentally, I’m still strong. I don’t know if I can win here, but I’m feeling good about my tennis right now.”
Davydenko is joined in the last eight by third seed Novak Djokovic, who cruised past Polish outsider Lukasz Kubot 6-1, 6-2, 7-5. Djokovic now takes on 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who won a five-set thriller with Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-7, 9-7.
MEN’S SINGLES | QUARTER-FINALS
R Federer (Sui) (1) v N Davydenko (Rus) (6)
N Djokovic (Ser) (3) v J-W Tsonga (Fra) (10)
A Roddick (USA) (7) v M Cilic (Cro) (14)
A Murray (GBR) (5) v R Nadal (Spa) (2)