Federer faced Croatia’s Karlovic in the third round and skillfully combating the sport’s fastest serve with his unerring backhand, took his first set point, then conjured the match’s first break to take the second set before clinching it 7-6 (8/6), 7-5, 6-3.
“I knew it could come down to a few (points) here and there and obviously you need a bit of luck,” he smiled. “I definitely got a bit fortunate and I started to play better as the match went on.”
On Sunday he will play his 999th match on the ATP World Tour against Bernard Tomic.
Earlier, Nadal bludgeoned his way into the fourth round with a straight-sets win over Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko but he denied he was having it easy at the year’s opening major.
Nadal came into the tournament jaded and troubled by injuries, but he has given no such signs on the court so far. After a hard-fought opening against Lacko, the 2009 champion raced away with it 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 55 minutes.
“Nothing is easy. Everything is difficult. Every match you have your problems,” he said. “First set was 6-2, but I had to fight for it. It was a tough one. But I played solid all the match, so that’s why I won.”
The world number two next plays 18th seed Feliciano Lopez.