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Federer passes Masters milestone

Federer won through against Australia's Mark Philippoussis in the third round

(Keystone)

Rising Swiss tennis star Roger Federer has reached the last 16 of a Masters Series tournament for the first time in his career, after beating Australia's Mark Philippoussis in the third round at Key Biscayne.

In a hard-hitting match, which saw few rallies going beyond three knocks, Federer had to fight back from a set down. The 16th-seeded Philippoussis won the opening set 3-6, before conceding the second on a tie-break.

Federer took charge in the deciding set, breaking the Australian twice - in the first and seventh games - to complete a 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 victory.

"It was never going to be easy against Mark," the Basel teenager reflected after the match. "Particularly with that big serve of his.

"I had opportunities right from the start," he continued, "but I wasn't able to make the most of them. I felt good out there, though, and I'm already looking forward to the next round."

Federer's opponent in the fourth round will be Sweden's Thomas Johansson, who himself pulled off a sensation in the third round by defeating Brazil's world number one, Gustavo Kuerten.

The only previous meeting between Federer and Johansson came at last year's Marseille tournament and ended in a straight sets victory for the Swiss player.

Only five of the top 16 men's players at Key Biscayne have managed to make it into this year's fourth round, with Kuerten's departure following similarly early exits by the likes of Pete Sampras and Marat Safin.

There have been no such difficulties in the women's tournament for Switzerland's Martina Hingis and her nearest rivals, with the top five seeds all making it safely through to the quarter-finals.

Hingis booked her place in the last eight on Monday with a straight sets win (6-3, 6-4) over Spain's Magui Serna. The world number one now faces Germany's Anke Huber in the quarter finals, and the record books are in favour of a Swiss victory: Hingis has won 11 of her previous 12 encounters with Huber.

swissinfo with agencies


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