Roger Federer needed some time to get going in the Australian Open’s fourth round, a match after a draining and difficult escape in which he was two points from defeat.
To be precise, he required a full set to get sorted.
After seeming sluggish while dropping the opener, Federer quickly righted himself and pushed through the next three sets without a hitch, reaching the 57th Grand Slam quarterfinal of his career by coming back to beat Marton Fucsovics 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 on Sunday.
When he takes on Tennys Sandgren of the United States on Tuesday, it’ll be the 38-year-old Federer’s record 15th quarterfinal at the Australian Open. He has won the title at Melbourne Park a half-dozen times, part of his men’s-record 20 major championships.
The other quarterfinal on that side of the bracket is defending champion Novak Djokovic against No. 32 Milos Raonic of Canada.
Federer’s slow start against Fucsovics might have been a result of all of the energy he expended while getting past John Millman in a fifth-set super tiebreaker on Friday. Millman was two points from victory at 8-4, before Federer reeled off the last six consecutive points.
Things never got quite so dire against Fucsovics, a 27-year-old from Hungary who is ranked 67th and was seeking his first major quarterfinal appearance.
After failing to accumulate a single break point in the first set, Federer won seven of Fucsovics’ service games the rest of the way.
Federer has yet to face a seeded player in the tournament and that won’t change against Sandgren, who is ranked 100th but eliminated No. 12 Fabio Fognini in four sets.
The lowest-ranked player that has ever defeated Federer in his 21 Australian Open appearances was No. 54 Arnaud Clement in 2000.