Roger Federer flicked a switch after losing the opening set to crush Marton Fucsovics and book a record 15th Australian Open quarter-final on Sunday, with unheralded American Tennys Sandgren his next hurdle.
The Swiss master took time to work out the Hungarian but when he did it was one-way traffic, romping to a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 victory on Rod Laver Arena to edge closer to a seventh Melbourne title and 21st Grand Slam crown. The victory was Federer’s 101st in Australia.
Awaiting him in the last eight on Tuesday is the 100th-ranked Sandgren, who upset 12th-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini over four intense sets.
“I think it’s good for me to know that I can put streaks like this together,” said Federer, who won seven games in a row straddling the second and third sets.
“I think in any tournament I played very well, I had those streaks happening at some point,” said Federer, who is into a record 15th Melbourne quarter-final, surpassing John Newcombe’s 14.
It will be also be his 57th appearance in the last eight at Grand Slams. No one else is close, with Novak Djokovic next in line on 46.
“It was nice especially off the (John) Millman match, after losing the first set (against Fucsovics), that I had that in me, at the end I was able to control things. So that was nice.”
The ageless Federer was pushed to a gruelling five sets by Millman in round three, but showed no signs of tiredness against Fucsovics despite being 38.
Sandgren, a devout Christian, achieved his best Grand Slam result at Melbourne Park by reaching the last eight in 2018, but it was overshadowed by a row over his political views and links to right-wing activists.
He has put the controversy behind him and showed battling qualities to make the last eight again. He said he was relishing the chance to play an all-time great.
“It will be very special, very special. To play him on a big stage like quarters of a Slam would be a ton of fun really,” he said.
The pair have never met before, as Federer noted: “I’ve played a lot of tennis in my life but never against Tennys.”
“I watched quite a little bit today against Fognini because it was exciting, it was close,” he added. “It was impressive how he was competing. I’m looking forward to a tough one.
Federer, who could face Djokovic in the semi-finals if he gets past Sandgren, wrapped up the match against Fucsovics in 2hrs 11mins, almost two hours less than his epic against Millman.