Roger Federer says he will have to improve his play when he meets Tomas Berdych in the third round of the Australian Open, the first Top 100 player he will meet at the tournament.
Federer, playing his first event since Wimbledon, was in command during both of his first two matches. He produced some scratchy play, however, going four sets in the first round against Jurgen Melzer and trailing by a break in the third set of his second-round match against Noah Rubin.
The 10th-ranked Berdych advanced to the second round when Luca Vanni retired and then defeated Ryan Harrison in straight sets.
Federer leads their head to head 16-6, including three wins at the Australian Open. In 2009, Berdych led Federer two sets to none in Melbourne before the Swiss came back to win the next three and move into the quarterfinals.
Federer said that since the court is fast here, he needs to be alert as Berdych has caused difficulties for him in the past on faster courts—Cincinnati, New York, Wimbledon, the Olympics in Athens. So he need to play on his own terms and stay really focused to beat Berdych.
Currently ranked 17th, Federer will fall out of the Top 30 if he loses this match.
The winner could play fifth-ranked Kei Nishikori in the fourth round.