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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 03:55 GMT
Clinical Federer thrashes Santoro
World number one Roger Federer
Federer is hoping to secure a fourth Australian Open title this year
Defending champion Roger Federer dropped only three games as he thumped Fabrice Santoro 6-1 6-2 6-0 to sweep into the Australian Open third round.

Santoro still played his part in an entertaining match, at times matching the world number one with his artistry.

Federer said: "It was a pleasure to play, not just for the score but also the spirit the game was played in."

Third seed Novak Djokovic also made speedy progress, crushing Italy's Simone Bolelli 6-1 6-2 6-2.

Home hope Lleyton Hewitt joined him after a typically gritty display saw off Denis Istomin of the Uzbekistan 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 5-7 6-1.


The Australian will face Marat Safin or Marcos Baghdatis in what will be one of the highlights of the third round and he is hoping the home fans can inspire him.

"I think when you start playing the big names, the crowd's always extremely into it. It is a big buzz; that's for sure," he said.

"It obviously doesn't matter who I play... it's going to be a tough match.

"I feel confident. I'm through to the third round. It's a matter of surviving the first week as much as possible. I'm getting there so far."

Argentine dark horse David Nalbandian moved into the third round with a 4-6 7-5 6-4 6-1 win over battling Australian Peter Luczak.

Fifth seed David Ferrer went through when his opponent Juan Martin Del Potro retired with an injury just after going two sets down to the Spaniard.

Djokovic, who is seeded to play Federer in the semi-finals, said: "It's good to have a straight-sets win, it's what you want at a Grand Slam.

"I played well but I struggled a little bit in the third set with my serve."

I did quite a lot of topspin forehand - it didn't help; I served quite good - it didn't help

Fabrice Santoro

Santoro, 35, breaking Andre Agassi's record by playing in a 62nd Grand Slam singles event, has outfoxed many players in his time and Pete Sampras used to call him "The Magician".

However, his tricks did not get him far against Federer, who took the match by the scruff of the neck from the start.

Both players were in inventive mood but the Swiss superstar was far more clinical and his class saw him through in just 81 minutes despite the efforts of the world number 36.

Federer clearly enjoyed his afternoon's work and on sealing his victory he vaulted the net to embrace Santoro.

"I just got off to a good start and after that, it was tough for him," Federer said. "I really didn't give him much. I think I really played him in a very smart way."

Santoro was full of praise for Federer, saying: "In November I beat Andy Roddick. I beat Novak Djokovic. I'm able to play some good tennis against the top guys.

"But it felt like he was coming from somewhere else.

"I was trying many things. I did quite a lot of topspin forehand - it didn't help. I served quite good - it didn't help.

"And when I hit some unbelievable passing shots, there was no space. The only space was out of the court. Everything is perfect in his game. Everything."

Elsewhere, 13th seed Tomas Berdych made short work of Spain's Oscar Hernandez, winning 6-2 6-1 6-3.

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