Federer battle through to the fourth round of French Open

Roger Federer completed a record-breaking win at Roland Garros on Friday, reaching the fourth round for the 12th time. It bettered the record set by Guillermo Vilas, the 1977 champion, who reached the Last 16 on 11 occasions.

"At the start of my career, clay was not my favourite surface," said Federer. "I got my best results in indoor courts or hard courts, so people thought at that time that I was only a fast-court player. But that's not the case, so I'm very happy with this record, and I'm enjoying it."

Fourth seed and 2009 champion Federer extended his record to 5-0 against No. 31 seed Dmitry Tursunov with a 7-5, 6-7(7), 6-2, 6-4 victory in three hours and seven minutes. He is now three match wins shy of 200 clay-court victories (197-60 overall).

Tursunov saved three set points from 0/40 at 5-6 in the second set, before going on to seal the tie-break. He led 4/1 in the tie-break and missed a backhand down the line at 6/5. Federer did not convert a set point opportunity at 7/6, before Tursunov levelled at one-set all at 8/7 with a forehand winner.

"It was tough to lose the second set but nice to win the match," said 32-year-old Federer, who is contesting his 58th straight Grand Slam.

"It was not a straightforward win. I knew Dmitry would try different things, take big cuts at the ball but I am pleased to have played solid."

"After three rounds, I have got all the information," Federer told a news conference.

"Today it was a tough match, I had to defend well because he was a very aggressive player. Against a previous player it was a matter of getting in the groove.

"The first round was quite okay, but I've got my bearings now, my landmarks on court. I know what are my assets, what are my weaknesses. Serve, return, that's quite okay."

Tursunov called it a "fairly even battle" prior to suffering a groin injury after the changeover of the second set. "Good for him that he was able to figure out what bothers me and kind of build his game plan around that," he said. "He's a tough player to play against when you're healthy, so definitely makes thing a little bit tougher."

Federer, who reached the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters final (l. to Wawrinka) last month, will now compete against No. 18 seed Ernests Gulbis on a clay court for a third time. Federer leads their Head to Head series 2-1. Gulbis won one of their 2010 clay meetings, 2-6, 6-1, 7-5, at the Rome Masters.

"Clearly he has to be confident after winning a tournament last week and now backing it up again here this week and cruising through, really," said Federer. "I'm aware of the challenge ahead of me, and difficult match I think because I have had some tough matches with him in the past."

"He has a great serve and he's very enterprising on the second serve. His backhand is very simple. It works well with a lot of power," Federer said of the 18th seed.

"He's able to hit the backhand above his shoulders, so he's a very good player. Year after year he moves better on court. I think that he is more determined. He has a great game, and he can do lots of great things, thanks to his game."

Gulbis will be appearing in a fourth round for the first time in 22 majors and insists he already has a game plan to tackle the Swiss star.

"You don't need to be scared to do certain things against him, because most of the people they go on the court and they lose already before it has started," said the 18th seed. "I can tell you that's not gonna be the case with me."

Date: 30th May 2014, Source: ATP, Reuters and AFP


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