• Australian Open, What They Said, Day Six

Tomic: "Oh crap, it's Roger"

ESPN staff
January 19, 2013 « India give Dhoni happy homecoming | Chartbeat test »
Bernard Tomic admitted he could not get Roger Federer's grand slam record out of his head © AP
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Roger Federer crushed Australian hopes of a home winner at this year's tournament by beating Bernard Tomic 6-4 7-6(5) 6-1 but insisted the hosts may have a future star on their hands. "Overall we both played a great match," said Federer. "Bernard has had a great run and he really got the best out of me, so I hope he can keep it up, I really wish him the best. You've got to expect the unexpected and Bernard's got the tools to do that. The court was playing a touch faster when we played last year so it allows him to play a bit more aggressive and he's a big guy with a powerful serve."

Bernard Tomic admitted that Federer's reputation had preceded him in their match, thanks to the public announcer spelling it out for him. He said: "I got in there, I started to think after they mentioned all these grand slams leading up - Wimbledon champion seven times, five times US Open champion. Then I was like, 'Oh crap, it's Roger'. I tried to block out who's on the other side of the net but couldn't quite do it after that announcement."

Andy Murray beat Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis 6-3 6-4 7-5 meaning he has not dropped a set in the opening week. But the Scotsman admitted that neither has he played anywhere near his best tennis yet. "I have won my first three matches in straight sets," Murray said. "Every player wants to hit the ball well every day if they can. But the reality is it isn't always going to happen. I'm aware I'll need to improve but you also don't necessarily want to be playing your best tennis in the first round of a grand slam or any tournament. You want to try to improve as the matches go on. I'm sitting here happy that I'm through to the fourth round having not played my best tennis. Hopefully I'll improve for the next one."

Murray and the 22-year-old Berankis have trained together before and the US Open champion felt the frustration at not being able to better use their sparring time to his advantage. "I was struggling," he added. "He was making me feel pretty frustrated. We know each other well and we have practised together. He was making me feel pretty uncomfortable out there."

Laura Robson blamed the eagerness of youth after she lost in straight sets to fellow teenage rival Sloane Stephens. She said: "Against anyone, if you try to finish the rally too early, it's never going to work out that well. But I toughed out two wins and I thought Sloane played pretty well. So it was still a pretty good tournament. "I felt something in my shoulder yesterday but we still don't know what it is because I haven't had time to see the doctor. "But these things happen and you just have to play through the pain sometimes."

Meanwhile Stephens is expecting titanic future battles between the pair. "We're turning into the Fed-Nadal rivalry," she said. "Whenever we play, we have good matches. Laura and I are good friends. She's obviously a good player. We're going to have a rivalry, all that good stuff."

Victoria Azarenka came through a scare against American Jamie Hampton, who suffered a back injury in the second set. The No. 1 seed eventually won and praised her opponent's resolve. "She played incredibly, she went for every single shot," Azarenka said. "All credit to her, she has a great future in front of her, she has great potential. She took a medical time-out but she was ripping winners all over. I thought 'can I have a back problem?!' I was feeling great but missing every shot."

Serena Williams was supreme in her contest with Japan's Ayumi Morita and won 6-1 6-3, equalling her career record for service speed in the process by clocking a 138 mph [207 kph] effort. She said: "I tried to hit it really hard. I hit 207 the other day and I thought it was luck but I did it again and I was like whew! I'm going to try to go for 210. We'll see."

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