Unknown Nearly Beats Federer

49th-ranked Serb gives Federer longest fifth set of his career
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2008 11:00 AM CST
Switzerland's Roger Federer returns to Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic in their third round Men's Singles match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2008. (AP...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Roger Federer needed a personal-best 39 aces to survive a stunning five-set four-hour match against relative unknown Janko Tipsarevic in the third round of the Australian Open. The 49th-ranked Serbian’s superb baseline play forced Federer to play 63 games, the most of his career. His secret? “You have to believe you’re going to beat Roger Federer,” Tipsarevic said, “as stupid as that sounds.”

But to hear Federer tell it, the match was glorified practice. “Just being there in a five-setter is good for me, because I’m hardly ever there,” he said. In other action, James Blake came from behind to keep America’s hopes alive on the men’s side, while 8th-ranked Venus Williams overcame a slow start to dispatch 31st-ranked Sania Mirza.