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23 May 2024

FedEx and Serena cruise into last 16 in Melbourne

I've come through a difficult draw, I feel physically fine and mentally fresh Roger Federer. (SUPPLIED) 


Top seeds Roger Federer and Serena Williams moved up a gear yesterday with straight set wins as they closed in on more silverware at the Australian Open.

The world's premier players have 26 Grand Slam titles between them and both look primed to add to their collections.

The Swiss great made short work of Spanish 31st Albert Montanes 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, while Williams completed a 6-0, 6-3 demolition of Carla Suarez Navarro as the fourth round of the opening Grand Slam of the season was finalised.

Also staying on track was men's third seed Novak Djokovic, sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko, ninth seed Fernando Verdasco and local hope Lleyton Hewitt.

Joining Williams in the women's draw were sister Venus, fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki, seventh seed Victoria Azarenka, ninth seeded Vera Zvonareva and 13th seeded Samantha Stosur.

Federer, with 15 Grand Slam titles, now faces a round of 16 clash against Hewitt, who was in good touch against Marcos Baghdatis before the Cypriot retired with a shoulder injury, while trailing 6-0, 4-2.

"I've come through a difficult draw, I feel physically fine and mentally fresh, but the opponents will get tougher from here," said Federer. "So far it's been great. Obviously you elevate your game gradually as the opponents get harder, so I'm happy the way I feel."

Williams will next take on the imposing Stosur.

The Australian 13th seed outclassed Italy's Alberta Brianti 6-4, 6-1 and is gunning for another crack at Williams, who she beat when they last met in Stanford in July.

"We've had a couple of close matches the last two times we've played and I got the last one so I'm going to ride with that and go into the match feeling pretty confident," Stosur said.

Williams was also looking forward to the rematch. "I think she's playing great. She beat me the last time we played, so she has a lot of momentum. A ton of momentum," she said. "I definitely expect the crowd to root for Sam. Hopefully, my mom will cheer for me. I should be fine."

Sister Venus set up a fourth round clash with Italian 17th seed Francesca Schiavone by beating Australian Casey Dellacqua 6-1, 7-6 (7/4).


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