Federer and Djokovic battle, Sharapova cruises
Originally published on 30/05/14
The fourth seed was given a decent test by the Russian in three hours and seven minutes but eventually prevailed to reach the last 16 for the 12th time. Federer, who is now just three short of 200 wins on clay, will next face Ernests Gulbis in an intriguing match-up after the Lavtian reached the last 16 for the first time since 2008 with a 6-3 6-2 7-5 win over Radek Stepanek.
"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."
"He played really well and went for big shots,'' Federer said of Tursunov, who was hampered by a groin injury at the end of the second set. "It was difficult to finish the match, so obviously I'm relieved.''
Federer leads the head-to-head 2-1 against Gulbis but lost the last time they met on clay in Rome in 2010.
"I don't want to tell all my cards. But I have a game plan," Gulbis said when asked about the clash. "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 before it has started."
World No.2 Novak Djokovic also reached the last 16 after recording his ninth straight win over Marin Cilic. The Serb, who also improved his head-to-head against Jeremy Chardy to 9-0 in the previous round, saw off a determined challenge from Cilic to come out on top 6-3 6-2 6-7(2) 6-4. The 25th-seeded Croatian led 3-1 in the first set and finished strongly but Djokovic's quality shone through as he set up a showdown with Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
"Physically I had to work very hard, because he was very aggressive, and I could expect that," Djokovic said. "I came into the match knowing that he's going to take his chances. So it wasn't easy, because, you know, once you start being passive, you know, you lose kind of the confidence to step in. In important moments I held my nerves and I'm very happy that I went through."
Tsonga beat No.22 seed Jerzy Janowicz 6-4 6-4 6-3 while Tomas Berydch also reached the fourth round with a 6-1 6-1 6-7(4) 6-4 victory against Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.
Berdych will face John Isner next after he became the first American to progress past the third round in four years despite making 63 more unforced errors than his opponent. The 29-year-old made a total of 74 unforced errors against Tommy Robredo but also hit 77 winners to win 7-6(13) 7-6(3) 6-7(5) 7-5.
Maria Sharapova swept into the fourth round without losing a game against Paula Ormaechea. The Russian dispatched of her opponent in just 51 minutes to set up a clash with No.19 seed Sam Stosur.
To view photos from the French Open taken by tennishead photographer Mike Frey visit www.amnimages.photoshelter.com/gallery/Roland-Garros-2014/G0000qkr26qLI4L8/