Roger Federer bt Marcos Baghdatis 5-7, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2

Roger Federer stopped the Marcos Baghdatis-express in the Australian open in four sets that started off with a nervy display from the Swiss before he found his rhythm and blew the exhausted Cypriot out of contention.

Federer is now holder of three of the four grandslam titles the first man to do that since Pete Sampras in 1995.

If he wins the French Open in May he will be the first man since Aussie Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four titles simultaneously. A win in Paris will cement his place in tennis history.

In Federer’s corner all through the Aussie open a wisened face, peering from under a baseball cap and bushy eyebrows followed his progress.

The face belongs to his part time coach and Australian tennis great Tony Roche.

Roche could be the single reason Federer goes on to conquer Roland Garros in the spring.

Roche was a major contender in the 60s and 70s and had the misfortune of having to compete in the same era as Laver. But most importantly Roche won the French Open twice, an unusual feat even then for a serve-volley Australian.

So he knows how to win the French Open by pulverising the base line huggers with an attacking game.

There was evidence of Roche’s handiwork in yesterday’s Australian Open final. When Federer started slicing his backhand to blunt the Baghdatis power in the second set, allowing him to impose his own game on the 20 year-old former Junior no. 1, the writing was on the wall for the young pretender.

And in case you are not convinced of Roche’s credentials he helped former world number 1 Ivan Lendl to seven grand slam titles in the 1980s and more recently Patrick Rafter to two Grandslam titles in the 1990s.

Will keep you posted.

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