Australian Open: He's scared of me - Ferrell reveals Federer fears

Roger Federer

GETTYRoger Federer has claimed he plans to play an aggressive brand of tennis this season

Naturally, he channelled his Anchorman character, Ron Burgundy, but for once, he was far from bumbling, asking Roger the kind of hard-hitting questions you just don't get at a tennis match nowadays.

Defending Aussie Open champion Roger Federer admitted he was "possibly" handed special treatment by those in charge of time of play when the No.2 seed beat Thursday's stifling heat with the final night match on Rod Laver Arena, breezing past Jan-Lennard Struff in straight sets.

"I would have loved to (have played Riggs)", Ferrell said.

"It's definitely a challenge".

You only need to look at Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios to know what happens when players become distrustful of the press.

"I wouldn't have minded playing in the day because I like to think I thrive in those conditions. Used to go to Dubai when it was 45 - 38 seems nearly OK".

"But, sure, it's helpful to play now [at night] rather than during the day".

Halep will view this as an enormous chance to break her Grand Slam duck and should be bristling with confidence following her rise to world No. 1 late last season.

Sharapova lost a fourth round match in three sets to Sevastova on her return to grand slam tennis at the US Open previous year but got a measure of revenge in another tight clash at the China Open.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has already pledged to increase the prize money from $55 million to $100 million over the next five years.

Halep allayed fears over the ankle injury she suffered in the opening round with a convincing 6-2 6-2 victory over Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.

Risky sixth seed Karolina Pliskova also progressed, dropping just two games against Beatriz Haddad Maia.

The German 27-year-old, who had never progressed beyond the first round at Melbourne Park, made more of a contest of it in the third set. He was ranked second worldwide.

"I played ideal tennis in the first couple of sets and Donald came back in the third set". We don't have the players in the same room at all times.

Switzerland's Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, was also playing in his first match since Wimbledon because of knee surgery and needed four sets to beat Ricardas Berankis 6-3 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-2).

"We just have to make a conscious effort to get together to talk to one another", Federer said. "Really tough conditions - brutal".

Fifth seed Dominic Thiem would have been expected to brush aside qualifier Denis Kudla on Margaret Court Arena, but the Austrian found himself two sets down to the American after two hours on court.

"Maybe, maybe not", Federer said.

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