Federer subdues hard-hitting Struff to reach Australian Open third round

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Champion Roger Federer escaped the worst of the Melbourne heatwave but had to knuckle down to avoid getting burnt by feisty German Jan-Lennard Struff as he won 6-4 6-4 7-6(4) to reach the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday.

Looking as cool as a cucumber Federer glided through the opening two sets under the Rod Laver lights but was dragged into a scrap in the third as the 55th-ranked Struff went for broke.

The 36-year-old was momentarily knocked out of his stride when he slipped 3-1 down but broke back to take the set into a tiebreak on a steamy night.

Struff saved a match point with a searing backhand down the line but fell on the second when Federer crunched a huge serve into the corner.

Federer will meet French 29th seed Richard Gasquet for a place in the last 16 as he continues his bid for a 20th grand slam title.

Second seed Federer made no apologies for being scheduled to play during the evening session when the temperature, which peaked at 40 degrees Celsius in the afternoon, had dipped to more manageable levels.

“We know it can be very hot here in Australia. I remember the days when we had four days of 40 degrees in a row a few years back. Now we got two,” he said.

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