Tomic on right path to top, says Federer

21:07, Jan 19 2013
Australian Open 2013
Janko Tipsarevic celebrates his straight sets win over Lleyton Hewitt in the first round.
Australian Open 2013
Ana Ivanovic celebrates a point during her match against Melinda Czink.
Australian Open 2013
A packed house shows up to watch local Lleyton Hewitt's first round match at Rod Laver Arena.
Australian Open 2013
Lleyton Hewitt's returns a point during his loss to Janko Tipsarevic.
Australian Open 2013
David Ferrer lies on court after throwing himself at a point during his first round win over Olivier Rochus.
Australian Open 2013
Fan show their home town support on day one.
Australian Open 2013
Maria Sharapova serves during her first round win.
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Novak Djokovic on his way to a first round straight sets victory.
Australian Open
Caroline Wozniacki in action during her first round match against Sabine Lisicki.
Australian Open
Andy Murray returns a shot against Robin Haase on day two of the Australian Open.
Serena Williams
Chair umpire Kerrilyn Cramer comes to the aid of Serena Williams after she fell heavily during her match against Romanian Edina Gallovits-Hall.
Roger Federer
Roger Federer during his first round match against Benoit Paire of France.
Australian Open
Bernard Tomic keeps his eye on the ball.
Australian Open
Melbourne Park is lit up for the night session on day two.
Australian Open
Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia does the splits in her first round match against Yanina Wickmayer.
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Gael Monfils celebrates a point during his first round match.
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Fans scramble for signatures from Argentinian Juan Martin del Potro.
Australian Open
No 1 seed Victoria Azarenka in action on day two.
Australian Open
Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland hits a return to Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania.
Australian Open
Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain hits a return to compatriot Nicolas Almagro during their men's singles match at the Australian Open.
Nishikori
Kei Nishikori of Japan plays a backhand in his second round match against Carlos Berlocq of Argentina.
Australian Open
Jerzy Janowicz exploded in rage after losing a 79-minute set to India’s Somdev Devvarman.
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Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic plays a backhand in his second round match against Guillaume Rufin of France.
Sam Stosur
Sam Stosur exits Rod Laver Arena after her second round defeat to China's Zheng Jie
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Maria Sharapova waits for a serve from Japan's Misaki Doi during her second round roll-over.
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic lost just six games as he cruised to a straight sets victory over American Ryan Harrison.
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Heather Watson of Great Britain celebrates with fans after her second round singles win.
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Bob and Mike Bryan perform their trademark chest bump after winning their opening doubles match.
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Victoria Azarenka of Belarus plays a backhand in her second round match against Eleni Daniilidou of Greece.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga plays a backhand in his second round match against Go Soeda of Japan.
Serena Williams
Serena Williams of the United States of America plays a backhand in her second round match against Garbine Muguruza of Spain.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray plays a forehand in his second round match against Joao Sousa of Portugal during day four of the 2013 Australian Open
Bernard Tomic
Bernard Tomic recovered from losing a first set tie-breaker to defeat German qualifier Daniel Brands in four sets.
Roger Federer
Roger Federer picked up early breaks in each set to defeat Nikolay Davydenko in straight sets in Melbourne.
Roger Federer
The pink and black shoes of Roger Federer.
Australian Open
Stefan 'Redfoo' Gordy of the American electro duo LMFAO attends the MLC Hotshots session at the Australian Open.
Australian Open
Angelique Kerber of Germany hits a return to Madison Keys of the US.
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Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland plays a forehand in her third round match against Heather Watson of Great Britain.
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Maria Sharapova celebrates her 6-1, 6-3 victory over Venus Williams.
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Tomas Berdych returns a shot during his match against Jurgen Melzer.
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Ana Ivanovic pumps her fist after beating fellow Serbian Jelena Jankovic.
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Novak Djokovic is at full strength during his win over Radek Stepanek.
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Jamie Hampton celebrates winning the second set during her women's singles match against Victoria Azarenka.
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Victoria Azarenka hits a return to Jamie Hampton.
Michael Chardy
Frenchman, world number 36, Michael Chardy lines up the ball in his Australia Open third round victory over sixth-seed Juan Martin del Potro.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray exclaims his satisfaction at beating Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania in the third round of the Australian Open.
Australian Open
Gael Monfils is doubled over with exhaustion during his epic third round match against Gilles Simon.
Australian Open
Bernard Tomic and Roger Federer share a pat on the back after their third round match.
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Serena and Venus Williams whisper tactics during their second round doubles match.
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Caroline Wozniacki returns a shot during her third round win.
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David Ferrer of Spain serves to Kei Nishikori of Japan during their men's singles match at the Australian Open.
Australian Open 2013
David Ferrer of of Spain plays a forehand in his fourth round match against Kei Nishikori.
Ekaterina Makarova of Russia hits a return to Angelique Kerber of Germany during their women's singles match at the Australian Open
Ekaterina Makarova of Russia hits a return to Angelique Kerber of Germany during their women's singles match at the Australian Open.
Australian Open 2013
Angelique Kerber of Germany receives medical treatment during her women's singles match against Ekaterina Makarova.
Sharapova
Maria Sharapova of Russia hits a return to Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.
Sharapova
Maria Sharapova (right) of Russia after her fourth round match against Kirsten Flipkens.
Agnieszka Radwanska
Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland celebrates defeating Ana Ivanovic of Serbia during their women's singles match at the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic celebrates after his five-hour, two-minute five-set victory over Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round at the Australian Open.
Ana Ivanovic
Ana Ivanovic is certain she is in good form despite exiting yet another major before the quarter-finals.
Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova has lost just five games in her four wins at this year's Australian Open.
Australian Open 2013
ictoria Azarenka of Belarus hits a return to Elena Vesnina of Russia during their women's singles match at the Australian Open.
Australian Open 2013
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus (right) kisses Elena Vesnina of Russia after defeating her in their women's singles match at the Australian Open.
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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrates making it into the quarter finals of the Australian Open.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray of Britain celebrates defeating Gilles Simon of France.
Serena Williams
Serena Williams of the US serves to Maria Kirilenko of Russia.
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Roger Federer of Switzerland serves to Milos Raonic of Canada.
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Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates winning the second set during his men's singles match against Milos Raonic.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray signs autographs after his fourth round victory over Frenchman Gilles Simon.
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Li Na celebrates her win over fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska.
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Nicolas Almagro of Spain (L) congratulates compatriot David Ferrer after Ferrer won their men's singles quarter-final.
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David Ferrer of Spain reacts during his men's singles quarter-final match against compatriot Nicolas Almagro.
Australian Open
Ekaterina Makarova of Russia plays a backhand in her Quarterfinal match against Maria Sharapova.
Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova of Russia hits a return to compatriot Ekaterina Makarova.
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Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates defeating Ekaterina Makarova.
Australian Open 2013
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates defeating Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic.
Serena Williams
Serena Williams does the splits during her quarterfinals loss to compatriot Sloane Stephens.
Serena Williams
Sloane Stephens of the US (R) shakes hands with compatriot Serena Williams after defeating her in their women's singles quarter-final match.
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Victoria Azarenka of Belarus celebrates winning her Quarterfinal match against Svetlana Kuznetsova.
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Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia looks on after falling in her Quarterfinal match against Victoria Azarenka.
Andy Murray  celebrates his win over Jeremy Chardy.
Andy Murray celebrates his win over Jeremy Chardy.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray during his match against Jeremy Chardy.
Jo-Wilfred Tsonga
Jo-Wilfred Tsonga of France reacts in his Quarterfinal match against Roger Federer.
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Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a backhand in his Quarterfinal match against Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.
Li Na
Li Na swept Maria Sharapova aside 6-2 6-2 in the first semifinal at the Australian Open.
Maria Sharapova
It was not Maria Sharapova's day, winning just four games in a straight sets loss to Li Na.
Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus plays a backhand in her Semifinal match against Sloane Stephens of the United States.
Sloane Stephens
Sloane Stephens of the United States of America plays a backhand in her Semifinal match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a return to David Ferrer of Spain.
David Ferrer
David Ferrer of Spain reacts during his men's singles semi-final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray missed a chance to serve out the match in the fourth set, but finished off Roger Federer in the fifth.
Roger Federer
A dejected Roger Federer during his post-match press conference.
Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka bursts into tears after defeating Li Na for back-to-back Australian Open titles.
Victoria Azarenka
Belarusian Victoria Azarenka kisses the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup in the locker room as women's singles champion.
Li Na
China's Li Na grimaces after injuring her left ankle during the Australian Open women's final.
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic celebrates winning a point during his Australian Open final victory over Andy Murray.

Bernard Tomic is not yet the player he will be; Roger Federer not quite the unstoppable force he was. But it took one of the world's best players to inflict the 20-year-old's only defeat of the summer, a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 loss in the third round at Melbourne Park that was nevertheless a step forward and up.

"Full credit to him. He was the best player and greatest of all time," Tomic said.

"I'm going to continue to work hard. It's just a matter of time when I get up to the big group of boys in the top 10. I've got to believe and do the things that I was doing the last few weeks. I know I'm going to be in there with this attitude."

Federer, Tomic
SOUNDLY BEATEN: Roger Federer and Bernard TOmic shake hands after the No 2 seed easily took care of the Australian in straight sets.

The task now is to carry that good domestic form overseas, to more hostile environments, and surfaces. Federer challenged Tomic to do it last year. He could not.

"I remember those words. I didn't quite do it after I left here," Tomic admitted. "I've got the right goal, the mindset to do what it is I need to do . . . It's a challenge, but I've committed to myself I'm up for it. I can't wait for the next tournament to start."

This time, the last Australian in either singles draw met Federer one round earlier than at last year's Open, and remains winless in nine attempts in tour events against players in the top four. Which is largely to be expected, but Tomic has also shown such a liking for the big time, that he would have entered the match believing his own confident statements about feeling unstoppable, and ready to win.

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The problem was that Federer was primed, too, the 17-time major winner relishing the chance to show one of the emerging generation that the old guard will not be departing quite yet.

By reaching the last 16 for the 12th successive year, Federer remains on course to become the second man in history - after Roy Emerson - to win five Australian titles.

But he said Tomic had forced him to play his best tennis, and noticed some improved power, and maturity in his young opponent, suggesting that "the whole package is I think a bit better".

The problem is that the 31-year-old remains the supreme all-rounder and more relaxed right now than tennis insiders have ever seen him.

The early stages would set the tone, and a service break in the opening game was both a setback for the underdog and a statement by Federer, whose intent was clear.

By the ninth game he had three set points on his opponent's serve, Tomic was favoured by a net-cord on a backhand volley on the second, but his reprieve only temporary, the first set dusted in barely half an hour.

Still, into the second, while Tomic was consistently under pressure in his service games, the upside was that he responded marvellously, hitting out with welcome boldness and mostly shelving the funky junky stuff that troubles others more than it has bothered Federer.

Tomic's tactics were the right ones, but Federer was superior when it mattered, that tie-breaker critical to the outcome. He then conjured a masterful sequence on his fourth break point in the second game of the third set, a stunning crosscourt backhand setting up a forehand winner, Tomic losing heart as a brisk 31-minute final act delivered the Swiss champion an unprecedented 250th grand slam match win.

So, for just the fourth time in 16 years there will be no local man or woman in the Open's fourth round, and, for Tomic, there is still just one set to show from his four matches against his childhood idol, which came in a Davis Cup tie in 2011.

Tomic was still just 18 then, but buoyed by his Wimbledon quarter-final appearance, and hailed among the biggest of the rising stars in the men's game.

But from the middle of last year the game then got more complicated for a young man who seems to play it so easily, and only through a concerted training program at year's end has he managed to find a clearer path back towards the top.

"I hope he can keep it up; I really wish him the best," Federer said.

"He's a big guy, so he's got a lot of power and he's got a big serve . . . I think he did excellent tonight and he'll be tough to beat in the future, that's for sure."

The Age