Federer defuses Dimitrov to seal 300th slam win

Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:42am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A patient Roger Federer weathered a second set storm from Grigor Dimitrov before slapping down the Bulgarian 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-4 to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open and clinch his 300th win in grand slams.

The four-times champion wobbled briefly in the inter-generational battle when the 24-year-old nicknamed 'Baby Fed' pulled off his best impression of the Swiss master to capture the second set under a closed roof at Rod Laver Arena.

Federer, however, simply lifted a gear, taming an occasionally wayward forehand before speeding away to set up a clash with another young gun in Belgian 15th seed David Goffin.

Blessed with a similar shot-making grace as his opponent, Dimitrov showed his class in a number of thrilling baseline battles and Federer admitted that, at times, it felt like playing himself.

"It's a little odd from time to time, I feel like he picks up the ball on the backhand and the forehand (like me)," Federer said in a courtside interview.

"Then I started playing the wrong way at times ... It's nice playing him, it's always fair play."

Their head-to-head record at the end of the twilight match stood at 5-0 in Federer's favor, however, and Dimitrov exits Melbourne Park still very much stuck in the Swiss's long shadow.

Having celebrated his 1,000th tour win in Brisbane last year, Federer was tickled by the idea of notching up his 300th in grand slams.   Continued...

Switzerland's Roger Federer hits a shot during his third round match against Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 22, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter