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Federer sets up Agassi encounter

Federer roared into the last 16 on Saturday

(Keystone)

Swiss tennis number one Roger Federer has made it through to the fourth round of the US Open after a straight sets win over Holland's Sjenk Schalken (ATP 24).

Following similarly impressive performances at the French Open and at Wimbledon, Federer's latest victory means he has now reached the last 16 of a Grand Slam tournament three times in the last three months.

To progress to the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows, the 20-year-old from Basel will now have to overcome American second seed and twice US Open champion Andre Agassi.

The Swiss star needed less than two hours to beat Schalken on Saturday. Having taken the first two sets 6-4, 7-5, Federer could have wrapped the match up even sooner. But two double faults when serving for the match at 5-4 forced the third set into an unnecessary tie-break.

Fortunately, Federer was able to rediscover his rhythm in time to complete a 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) victory. Schalken might take some commiseration from the fact that he was the first player this US Open to break Federer's serve. The young Swiss has won 42 of his 44 service games in New York this week.

Looking ahead to his fourth round meeting with Federer, Agassi showed no sign of underestimating his opponent.

"It's certainly going to be the toughtest test to date for me," admitted the reigning Australian Open. "You have to start shifting gears now. It's all about match-ups, about playing your best tennis at the right time. And I'm going to have to start doing that right now."

The two players have met just once before, in a first round match at the Swiss Indoors in Basel, which Agassi went on to win comfortably (6-3, 6-2). At that time, though, Federer was ranked just 396th in the world. Having risen 383 places since then, the Basel player will be confident of adding Agassi's illustrious scalp to that of Sampras's which he famously took at this year's Wimbledon tournament.

swissinfo with agencies

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