Federer crushes Tomic and Australian hopes

Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:59am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Roger Federer humbled local favorite Bernard Tomic 6-4 7-6 6-1 to sail into the last 16 of the Australian Open and then apologized to a packed centre court crowd for "beating up" on the home players.

Saturday's anticipated clash between master and apprentice briefly caught fire in the middle stages but fizzled out as the Swiss dispatched the last Australian from the tournament.

The outcome was a repeat of Federer's straight-sets victory over Tomic in the fourth round last year, and came three years after he ousted Australia's former world number one Lleyton Hewitt at the same stage.

"It's nice that you guys invite me back every year," Federer told a crowd of 15,000 under the lights at Rod Laver Arena after beating the vaunted 20-year-old in a tick under two hours.

"It's not my favorite part of the job, beating up on the home heroes."

The bad boy of tennis Down Under had raised the stakes in the leadup, declaring himself confident of upsetting the 17-times grand slam champion.

But he later conceded he was spooked before a point was played, when his opponent's achievements were listed over the loudspeaker.

"I tried to block out who's on the other side of the net but couldn't quite do it after that announcement," said the 43rd-ranked Tomic, who in the opening game lost his serve for the first time at Melbourne Park.   Continued...

Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return to Bernard Tomic of Australia during their men's singles match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 19, 2013. REUTERS/David Gray