|Andy Roddick of the U.S. plays a shot to Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during their match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, January 23, 2011. (REUTERS/David Gray)
MELBOURNE - Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic punched their tickets into the quarterfinals with victories on Sunday at the 2011 Australian Open, while Andy Roddick failed to advance.
The second-seeded Federer, who continues his quest for a fifth Australian Open crown and 17th Grand Slam title, took the first set handily, but then conceded the second to Tommy Robredo.
However, the Spaniard was unable to capitalize on the momentum and the former world No. 1 took a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 decision.
"It's a step in the right direction," Federer said. "I'm happy I'm still alive and going strong in the tournament. It's a tough match. I knew Robredo was going to come out and hit a lot loopy shots and make me earn it."
The Swiss Federer will next face countryman Stanislas Wawrinka, who ousted the eighth-seeded Roddick. The 19th-seeded Wawrinka swept through a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 decision thanks to a superior, if chancy, service game. He had a first-serve percentage of just 49, but fired 24 aces.
He also handled Roddick's typically quick serve well. Roddick's serves were faster on average, but the American and former top-ranked player faced 13 break points.
Wawrinka, who won in Chennai earlier this month, advanced to a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the second time in his career, having also done so at last year's U.S. Open.
In order to reach the semifinals, Wawrinka will have to pull off a rare defeat of Federer. He has won once in seven all-time matchups, but said he has confidence in his current form.
"I think [I'm playing] my best tennis ever, so for sure it's going to be different," Wawrinka said. "Everybody knows that Roger is the best player ever at the moment, and we know that when he's playing his best tennis it's always tough to beat him."
Djokovic, the third-seeded Serb, breezed by Spaniard Nicolas Almagro by a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 count. The 2008 Aussie Open winner also reached the quarterfinals in 2009 and 2010, but was bounced both times.
Djokovic has reached this point in the draw without spending much time on the court, something he said was important going into the second week. Only one of his matches went more than three sets, and he benefited from Viktor Troicki retiring after the first set of their third-rounder.
"I'm hitting the ball well. Physically and mentally, I'm fit and ready to win another match," Djokovic said.
His quarterfinal opponent will be Czech Tomas Berdych, who dispatched Fernando Verdasco in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3. Berdych had never before reached the quarters in Melbourne, but is continuing his Grand Slam success from last year, when he reached the semifinals at the French Open and the final at Wimbledon.
Monday's schedule includes the other four men's fourth-round matches. Top- seeded Rafael Nadal is back in action against No. 15 Marin Cilic, while fourth-seeded Robin Soderling takes on Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine. Fifth-seeded Andy Murray will look to advance against No. 11 Jurgen Melzer, and seventh-seeded David Ferrer plays 20-year-old Milos Raonic, who is playing in his second career Grand Slam.