Roger Federer said he hoped to erase his shock defeat in last year’s Australian Open third round on Wednesday as he set up an enticing last-32 showdown with Grigor Dimitrov — the Bulgarian once dubbed “Baby Fed”.
Next up for the Swiss is 27th seed Dimitrov, the former world number eight and a finalist last week in Sydney who was long dubbed ‘Baby Fed’ because of his similarities to Federer’s elegant game.
After last year’s campaign ended at this stage with a stunning defeat to Italy’s Andreas Seppi, third-ranked Federer hopes to avoid another upset this time around.
“Grigor did well in Sydney and that definitely will give him a bit of a lift,” Federer said.
“I think it’s a tough draw. He’s got the game to be really dangerous. He’s fit enough for a five-setter so I’ve gotta definitely bring my best game to the court.
“It’s the least I expect to be in the third round of a Slam, obviously, so I’m pumped up, playing well, feeling good.
“But there’s always a danger, you know. Like last year the third round was the end for me, so I hope to go further this time.”
Federer’s loss to Seppi condemned him to his earliest exit from the season’s first Grand Slam in 14 years.
Against Dimitrov, the 34-year-old will be seeking his 300th Grand Slam singles victory as he chases his fifth title at the Australian Open, and first since 2010.