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Into The Quarters, Federer Has Found His Rhythm

Roger Federer says he has found his rhythm at the Australian Open. Into the quarterfinals, he’s won his first four matches and says his play is improving with each round.

After defeating Tomas Berdych in just 90 minutes, Federer came from a set down to defeat Kei Nishikori in five sets in the fourth round. His performance significantly improved against the Top 10 players. Against Jurgen Melzer and Noah Rubin in the first two rounds, he appeared to be having problems with his timing and concentration following a long layoff to recover from a knee injury.

“I am playing better and better,” he said. “Today, over a long period of time, I had to be refocused and [was] playing good tennis. If I gave Kei too many opportunities, he was going to take them. I served exceptionally well, which was key against Nishikori. I’m very pleased there. Rhythm from the baseline is there now.

“I’m in the tournament now, and you know how the balls and the court surface reacts to my shots, and for my opponents what can happen. I’m not getting surprised so much anymore, which is only helpful for the next round.”

Federer, playing his first event since Wimbledon, had said before the tournament that he did not know whether he could play and win a tough five-setter at the beginning of his comeback. In a more than three-hour meeting with Nishikori, he found that he could.
Roger Federer was pleased with how well he felt in the fifth set against Kei Nishikori. (AP)

Roger Federer says he has found his rhythm at the Australian Open. Into the quarterfinals, he’s won his first four matches and says his play is improving with each round.

After defeating Tomas Berdych in just 90 minutes, Federer came from a set down to defeat Kei Nishikori in five sets in the fourth round. His performance significantly improved against the Top 10 players. Against Jurgen Melzer and Noah Rubin in the first two rounds, he appeared to be having problems with his timing and concentration following a long layoff to recover from a knee injury.

“I am playing better and better,” he said. “Today, over a long period of time, I had to be refocused and [was] playing good tennis. If I gave Kei too many opportunities, he was going to take them. I served exceptionally well, which was key against Nishikori. I’m very pleased there. Rhythm from the baseline is there now.

“I’m in the tournament now, and you know how the balls and the court surface reacts to my shots, and for my opponents what can happen. I’m not getting surprised so much anymore, which is only helpful for the next round.”

Federer, playing his first event since Wimbledon, had said before the tournament that he did not know whether he could play and win a tough five-setter at the beginning of his comeback. In a more than three-hour meeting with Nishikori, he found that he could.

“I felt great in the fifth, I must say,” the 17-time Grand Slam champion said. “Great energy. Even deep into the fourth, I thought, ‘Yeah, fifth—here we go. No problem for me.’ I’m feeling good about my chances. I was playing positive tennis, I was playing offensive. My body was reacting.”

Federer is the No. 17 seed at the Australian Open.

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