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Federer set for quarter-final against France's Tsonga

© afp

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-06-03

Roger Federer was headed for his 36th consecutive major quarter-final on Tuesday when he takes on Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The 17-time Grand Slam champion beat Gilles Simon 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 on Sunday.

Roger Federer’s route toward a second French Open title will pit him against yet another Frenchman in the quarterfinals, although judging by the way his fourth-round win was received Sunday he may feel like he’s the one playing at home.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion beat the 15th-seeded Gilles Simon of France 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach his 36th consecutive major quarterfinal, and next takes on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last eight Tuesday.

“It’s been an amazing run, and I’m happy I’m still on it,” the 31-year-old Federer said.

THE FRENCH OPEN

The win over Simon was more difficult than his victory over Frenchman Julien Benneteau in the third round. The crowd gave Simon an ovation when he trudged off center court, but there seemed to be an air of relief that Federer had stayed on course to repeat his 2009 French Open win.

That was evident in the sixth game of the fourth set, when he turned potential defeat into victory by breaking Simon for a 4-2 lead, and in the fifth set when he broke for a 2-0 lead.

“Of course I would like to have had more support,” Simon said. “If I don’t get it here, I won’t ever get it.”

Federer’s popularity at Roland Garros is so great that Frenchman Tsonga likely won’t have unanimous support when he takes on the Swiss star.

Tsonga trails Federer 9-3 in their matches. He has beaten him in a Grand Slam, when he rallied from two sets down to win their 2011 Wimbledon quarterfinal, but Federer won their three other meetings in majors, twice at the Australian Open, once at the U.S. Open.

“I won’t be taking him on any differently to how I have taken him on in the past,” Federer said. “He’s a very good player, Tsonga. He’s dangerous, dangerous for everybody ranked in the top four in the world. He’s proved his worth in the past.”

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic and seven-time champion Rafael Nadal will try to join them in the last eight with victories on Monday.

The third-seeded Nadal plays 13th-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan, and Djokovic takes on No. 16 Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.

The spotlight will be firmly on Djokovic, who had a personal setback on Saturday when his first coach, Jelena Gencic, died in Belgrade, Serbia, at the age of 76.

In other men’s fourth-round matches: seventh-seeded Richard Gasquet goes against No. 9 Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, and No. 12 Tommy Haas of Germany takes on No. 29 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia.

Defending champion Maria Sharapova’s match against No. 17 Sloane Stephens is the pick of the women’s fourth-round encounters.

Elsewhere, third-seeded Victoria Azarenka plays 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone, No. 12 Maria Kirilenko takes on Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and American Jamie Hampton is against No. 18 Jelena Jankovic.

Federer was in danger of his earliest exit from a Grand Slam tournament in nine years _ but ended up writing another line in the history books, despite twisting his right foot awkwardly during the match when he tumbled to the ground.

“It wasn’t because of the fall that I started losing,” Federer said. “It was really because of the quality of Gilles’ game.”

It was Federer’s 58th win in his French Open career, against 13 losses, equaling the mark for most wins at the tournament held by Guillermo Vilas and Nicola Pietrangeli. It also was his 900th career victory anywhere, which puts him fourth in men’s tour history, behind only Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Vilas.

“I’m not too tired right now. Still fairly fresh,” Federer said. “I think I did really well and never felt tired.”

Serena Williams continued a streak of her own when she reached the last eight.

The 15-time major champion beat No. 15 Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-3 to extend her winning streak to 28 and set up a quarterfinal against Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2009 champion who is unseeded this year.

“I honestly don’t even consider it like a streak. Every day everybody is like, ‘You’re on this streak,”” Williams said. “But at the end of the day, I just want to hold up the winner’s trophy.”

(AP)

Date created : 2013-06-03

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