sport

Federer impressed by Tomic

Roger Federer felt Bernard Tomic brought the best out of him as he overcame the 20-year-old to book a place in the Australian Open's last 16.

Tomic gave another demonstration of his burgeoning talent on Rod Laver Arena but it was not enough as the world number two maintained his smooth progress through the draw with a 6-4 7-6 (7/5) 6-1 win.

"I thought it was a good match overall," said Federer, who is chasing a fifth Melbourne crown.

"I thought the intensity was good, we had tough rallies and the crowd was great. So I enjoyed myself out there.

"I thought I played well. I had to bring my full repertoire, defence and offense, which I enjoy.

"Then when you do win those kind of matches, it's a good feeling afterwards."

Tomic would have hoped for a fast start but instead it was Federer who struck first, breaking in the opening game.

And the Swiss was rarely threatened on serve in the early exchanges despite some breathtaking rallies in which Tomic held his own.

Having claimed the opening set, Federer increased the pressure, creating break point chances in the first, third, ninth and 11th games of the second set but he could not find a way through as Tomic, roared on by a partisan crowd, managed to cling on.

And when the world number 43 moved 4-1 up in the tie-break it looked as though he was going to level the match up.

But Federer stormed back with Tomic for once unable to respond.

The Australian had his first break point opportunity at the start of the third but once it came and went the writing was on the wall.

Federer claimed Tomic's serve twice more to move through to a last-16 meeting with Milos Raonic, a straight-sets victor over Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Third seed Andy Murray was simply pleased to have got through given his scratchy performance against Ricardas Berankis.

He cut a frustrated figure for large parts of the win over the Lithuanian qualifier as he struggled to hit the heights reached against Robin Haase and Joao Sousa in his first two matches in Melbourne.

But if it is a sign of a champion to win when not playing well then Murray is entitled to feel satisfied with the 6-3 6-4 7-5 triumph achieved in two hours and 12 minutes.

"I have won my first three matches in straight sets," he 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 today. Hopefully I'll improve for the next one."

Murray will next meet Frenchman Gilles Simon who came through a remarkable clash with Gael Monfils 6-4 6-4 4-6 1-6 8-6.

The four hour 43 minute contest saw both players struggle physically with Simon first receiving treatment in the third set for a quadriceps problem. Later he also required a massage on his right forearm while Monfils needed medical assistance to deal with blisters on his racket hand.

Having overcome the setback of relinquishing a two-set advantage, Simon had the chance to serve for the match at 5-4 in the fifth only to be broken.

He hit back and did not miss the chance when it came again at 7-6.

"I was almost dying at the end of the second set, it was already two hours long and I thought it would be difficult," Simon said.

"Gael started to play better and I could not do anything for an hour.

"I just tried to do my maximum and I think I did it."

A good day for Murray was capped by the other results in his quarter with Juan Martin Del Potro and Marin Cilic both going out.

Sixth seed Del Potro lost to Frenchman Jeremy Chardy after hitting back from two sets down. Chardy held his nerve to come through 6-3 6-3 6-7 (3/7) 3-6 6-3.

He will now play Andreas Seppi following his five-set win over 12th seed Cilic.

On a good day for France, Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga set up a mouthwatering last-16 clash with wins.

Ninth-seeded Gasquet beat Ivan Dodig 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7/2) 6-0 while seventh-seeded Tsonga cruised past Blaz Kavkic for the loss of seven games.