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Roger Federer and Andy Murray were locked on collision course at the Australian Open today as an unstoppable Serena Williams powered towards her third straight Grand Slam title.
As Novak Djokovic regrouped after his late-night thriller against Stanislas Wawrinka, Federer and Murray had no such problems as they breezed into the quarter-finals.
Murray had the simplest of tasks against a weakened Gilles Simon, still struggling after his marathon win over Gael Monfils, while Federer easily had the weapons to deal with the machine-gun serve of Milos Raonic.
Federer, playing in the showpiece evening match on Rod Laver Arena, needed a solitary break to edge the first set, and then won tiebreaker for the second before he swept through the last to take it 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2.
The Swiss master, now into his 35th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final and seeking his 18th major title, said "good reflexes" were the key to coping with Raonic's bullet serve.
"You try to anticipate a bit, and it happened better and better as the match went on," he said. "It's important to stay focused. I have learned that over the years, and it pays off in the end."
While defending champion Djokovic battled to recover from his five-hour, five-set win which concluded in the early hours of Monday, Simon was still struggling from his marathon victory over Gael Monfils a day earlier.
The Frenchman, who could hardly walk after wrapping up the five-setter post-midnight, was in no state to face US Open champion Murray, and he quickly went down 6-3, 6-1, 6-3, calling it "a painful hour-and-a-half."
"Yesterday I was just biking 20 minutes, you know, stretching, massage, cold bath. I did everything I could," said Simon. "But it's difficult when you run a marathon two days before to go for one more two days after."
Murray called it a "tough situation" but he admitted his mind was already on his next match, a quarter-final with France's world number 36 Jeremy Chardy. The Briton is scheduled to face Federer in the semi-finals.
"I felt after the first few games, because he wasn't serving hard at all, you know, his forehand side wasn't moving that well either," said Murray of Simon.
"It was just about trying to finish the match as quickly as I could and then getting ready for the next one."
Chardy, who comes from the same coaching stable as Williams, reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final with a straight-sets defeat of Italian