Published January 19, 2013
| Sports Network
Melbourne, Australia – Roger Federer and Andy Murray were third-round winners Saturday at the Australian Open, while former U.S. Open champ Juan Martin del Potro was eliminated by Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the first big upset of the tournament.
The second-seeded Federer had the task of facing one of Australia's own in rising star Bernard Tomic, but the 17-time Grand Slam champ made short work of the 20-year-old in a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 triumph.
Murray, the third seed and a two-time runner-up in Melbourne, reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the 19th straight time with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 win over Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis.
Meanwhile, del Potro nearly pulled off a comeback from two sets down, but the Argentine star came up just short as Chardy held on to capture a 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 3-6, 6-3 victory.
The sixth-seeded del Potro became the first man among the top 10 seeds to fall and not reach the second week of the year's first Grand Slam.
"Well, the match was really tough," said del Potro. "Jeremy played so strong during four hours. He serves well. He made a lot of winners with the forehand, very good slices."
Chardy broke del Potro's serve in the eighth game of the fifth set and then held on before concluding the match with an ace.
"My tactic was very simple: I play slice with my backhand and I try to play short slice because like this he has to come in the court. After, with my forehand, I can go full power," Chardy said.
After del Potro's defeat at Hisense Arena, Federer made sure there would be no such surprise in the night match at Laver Arena.
Tomic entered the Australian Open off his first career tournament win, taking the title last week in Sydney. He was eliminated by Federer in the fourth round of last year's Australian Open and was hoping to return the favor with a monumental upset, but the Swiss superstar was simply too good on Saturday night.
Federer won 88 percent of his first serves and was aided by 41 unforced errors from Tomic. The only real blip came in the second-set tiebreaker after Tomic built a 5-2 lead, but Federer won the next five points to steal the set and carried the momentum into the third by building a 3-0 lead and cruising from there.
"Obviously, the result is something I was hoping for, but not sure going into it," said Federer. "So I'm just really pleased that the outcome is what I was hoping for. I thought I played really good today."
Federer will continue his quest for a fifth Australian Open title on Monday in the fourth round against Canadian Milos Raonic, who advanced Saturday with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-4 victory over German slugger Philipp Kohlschreiber.
There was a second night match on Saturday and it went deep into the night, as 14th-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon outlasted countrymate Gael Monfils, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 1-6, 8-6, in a 4-hour, 43-minute marathon. The fifth set alone lasted 94 minutes.
Next up for Simon will be Murray, who had a little adversity on Saturday. After winning the first set, the 2012 U.S. Open champ was down 2-4 in the second. He battled back and won the next four games.
"It was a tough match," Murray noted. "He takes the ball very early, hits the ball very flat compared to most players on the tour. And when the ball is between his hips and his shoulder, he hits the ball extremely well. He's got very good timing. He made it tough."
Two other seeded Frenchmen also won Saturday, as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet advanced and will face each other in the fourth round. The seventh-seeded Tsonga, Australian Open runner-up in 2008, thumped Slovenia's Blaz Kavcic, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, while the ninth-seeded Gasquet shook off a slow start to post a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), 6-0 win over Croatia's Ivan Dodig.
Chardy's fourth-round foe will be Italy's Andreas Seppi, a 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 winner over 12th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia.
The fourth round will begin Sunday with four matches. Top-seeded Novak Djokovic continues his quest for a third straight Aussie Open crown against Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka, while fourth-seeded David Ferrer squares off against Japan's Kei Nishikori and fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych meets South Africa's Kevin Anderson. Also, eighth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic plays No. 10 seed Nicolas Almagro.