Federer saunters into last-16

Roger Federer continued his serene progress in the Australian Open by thrashing Teymuraz Gabashvili on Rod Laver Arena.

The 17-time grand slam champion has yet to drop a set in his opening three matches in Melbourne and never looked likely to against his Russian opponent, who delighted the crowd on occasion with excellent winners but was far too inconsistent to trouble Federer.

The Swiss did not concede a break of serve and never looked back after winning five games on the bounce, which put him on the path to an emphatic 6-2 6-2 6-3 victory and a fourth-round clash with either Gilles Simon or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

It appeared Federer would be in for a tough assignment against the world number 79 when he had to save two break points to hold in the opening game.

But Federer gained the initiative in the sixth game when Gabashvili followed up two errors with a double fault to lose his serve.

The world number six capitalised by going on to break Gabashvili again and take the first set with minimal fuss in 33 minutes.

Gabashvili, who beat 31st seed Fernando Verdasco in the last round, won his first game in six by holding serve at the start of the second set.

The 28-year-old kept the crowd entertained, with several backhand winners drawing plenty of gasps, yet too often he let his opponent off the hook.

After Federer had comfortably won the second set in a similar manner to the first, Gabashvili earned two break points at the start of the third.

The four-time champion, who won 87 per cent of points on his first serve, held his nerve, however.

It proved to be the final opportunity for the underdog, who succumbed to defeat in one hour and 41 minutes.

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