Federer advances to face lucky loser Goffin
Date published :
02 Jun 2012 - 09:16:59
Roger Federer survived another awkward French Open assignment to book a last 16 match-up with Belgium's David Goffin, the first lucky loser in 17 years to make a Grand Slam fourth round.
Federer, the champion in Paris in 2009, overcame battling French world number 89 Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5, being pushed to four sets for the second match in succession.
Goffin is the first lucky loser from qualifying to make the last 16 of a major since compatriot Dick Norman at Wimbledon in 1995 and the first at Roland Garros since 1978.
The 21-year-old achieved the feat by beating Poland's Lukasz Kubot 7-6 (7/4), 7-5, 6-1, having originally lost in the final qualifying round last week.
He was then handed a lifeline when French star Gael Monfils pulled out on the eve of the event.
"I've seen him around," said Federer, who caught a glimpse of the young Belgian in his second round win over Arnaud Clement.
"He has a nice game, he's a smooth ball-striker and talented, obviously, otherwise he wouldn't be coming this far in the tournament."
Top seed Novak Djokovic, bidding to become just the third man in history and first since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time, breezed past French qualifier Nicolas Devilder 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.
In a match-up of the highest-ranked and lowest-ranked men in the tournament, the 32-year-old Devilder, the world number 286, who missed three years of action because of an ankle injury, was swept aside.
Djokovic next faces Italian 22nd seed Andreas Seppi, who reached the last 16 of a Grand Slam at the 29th time of asking.
Seppi, who won the Belgrade claycourt title in the run-up to Roland Garros, stunned Spain's 14th seed Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the fifth seed, did his part to keep alive home hopes of a first men's champion since 1983 when he defeated colourful Italian Fabio Fognini 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.
Next up for Tsonga is Stanislas Wawrinka, the 18th-seeded Swiss, who edged French 11th seed Gilles Simon 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-2.
It was Tsonga's second win in two meetings with Fognini, who reached the quarter-finals last year only for a thigh injury to force him to withdraw and hand Djokovic a walkover into the semi-finals.
"I have had some difficult moments here, now I am happy to be having some good ones," said Tsonga, who has now matched his best performances of fourth round runs in 2010 and 2011.
Seventh-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych ended Kevin Anderson's hopes of becoming the first South African man to reach the last 16 of a Grand Slam for nine years in a third round slugfest.
The 31st seed from Johannesburg was attempting to match compatriot Wayne Ferreira who made the fourth round at the Australian Open in 2003.
But after taking a two sets to one lead, he eventually ran out of steam, losing 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4 6-4, eight minutes short of four hours.
Berdych, a semi-finalist in Paris in 2010, will next take on ninth seed Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina, the 2009 US Open champion, who put out Marin Cilic, the Croatian 21st seed 6-3, 7-6 (9/7), 6-1.
World number 98 Malek Jaziri wasted a great opportunity to become the first Tunisian man into a Grand Slam third round when he squandered three match points against Spanish 20th seed Marcel Granollers.
In a match held over from Tuesday, Granollers edged past Jaziri 7-6 (7/1), 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 and will face France's Paul-Henri Mathieu.