Federer into second week at Roland Garros

Roger Federer booked his place in the fourth round at Roland Garros for a 14th time on Friday afternoon, weathering a resurgence from Casper Ruud in the third set, which saw the Norwegian right-hander hold one set point at 7/6 in the tie-break. The 2009 champion eventually won 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (8) to surpass Budge Patty's 13 Round of 16 showings from 1946 to 1958.

I liked how he figured things out after going on a tough run there of nine games. The third set could have gone either way. He had chances early, then later, and then again after,” Federer said. “It was nice to see him hang in there. I thought the first set also was tough. I can see why he's going to be good in the future. He's got a great attitude, very calm, very quiet.”

Federer, returning to Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, outhit and outthought the 20-year-old Norwegian in the intergenerational battle, serving and volleying on second serves with success and avoiding lengthy rallies.

Nearly 120 points were decided between zero and three shots, while only 17 points endured for nine shots or more.

I enjoyed the match. I thought it was tough, even though I had a good run there for a while. And that also is very important for me to know, that I can run through a set and a half and just take care of business and gives me confidence for the next match,” Federer said. “The first goal has been reached by getting this deep into the tournament, and knowing where the game's at, knowing where the fitness is, the mind.”

He will next face Argentine Leonardo Mayer, who beat French wild card Nicolas Mahut 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (3) to make his first Round of 16 at Roland Garros during his 10th main-draw showing here. Mayer also made the fourth round at the 2014 Wimbledon (l. to Dimitrov).

Federer said before his third-round match that he probably knew more about Casper's father and coach, Christian Ruud, who joined Federer in three Roland Garros draws from 1999-2001, than he did about Casper.

The 20-year-old was playing in his first Grand Slam third round and made his best ATP Masters 1000 showing earlier this month by making the Round of 16 in Rome. He hung with Federer to start, but the Swiss broke twice in each of the first two sets to take the lead.

Ruud rallied in the third, breaking early, and although he was unable to consolidate, he stepped into the court to force a tie-break, where Federer clinched his fourth match point.

“I feel that my 20 years on the tour went too fast almost,” Federer reflected. “When you play against people like Casper Ruud, you ask, ‘how was it at the time?’ When I started on the tour he was hardly born.”

And today Federer became the first player to play 400 Grand Slam matches.

It's true I played many matches in Grand Slam tournaments, and it's even more pleasant to do this in Roland Garros, because I have a lot of records, milestones from Wimbledon or the US Open. But doing anything in Roland is very special, because I played a lot here. It was my first Grand Slam where I was in the main draw, Federer said.

Date: 31 May 2019, Source: ATP and Roland Garros


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