The bravado he built by holding serve for 76 games dissolved in six points. It was Roger Federer on the other side of the net this time, in a major, and he gave 20-year-old Bernard Tomic a reality check — a kind of "Welcome to my place, Mate."
"I elected to serve, considering I was serving really well the last few weeks," Tomic said. "Yeah … that first service game was important. I lost it. Then I was like, 'Oh, no!' "
The last Aussie exited the Australian Open on Saturday night, with Federer beating Tomic 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-1 in the third round.
"It's not my favorite part of the job beating up on the hometown heroes," Federer told the crowd at Rod Laver Arena, where he has won four of his 17 Grand Slam titles.
Federer earned his 250th win at a Grand Slam event, the milestone sprinkled with some of his classic crisp volleys and trademark one-handed backhands. Federer won the first point of the match with a forehand winner, the first of three in that game, and Tomic only won two points before the Swiss star converted a service break in the first game.
Federer will face Milos Raonic, who advanced with a 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-4 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber in a battle of big servers.
Defending champion Victoria Azarenka struggled at times before putting away injured American Jamie Hampton 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in 2 hours, 9 minutes. No. 3 Serena Williams dropped serve early in the second set before winning the last six games in her 6-1, 6-3 victory against Japan's Ayumi Morita.
Early today, No. 19-seeded Ekaterina Makarova posted a 7-5, 6-4 win over No. 5 Angelique Kerber, the highest seed to tumble at the season's first major.
Also, fourth-seeded David Ferrer cruised to a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 win over No. 16 Kei Nishikori.