Federer's Record Win At Roland Garros; Next Up Gulbis In Fourth Round
May 30, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
ATP PRESS RELEASE
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.
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 FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-1. Gulbis won one of their 2010 clay meetings, 2-6, 6-1, 7-5, at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.
"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."
Gulbis maintained his record of never having lost to Radek Stepanek by posting a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 win, in just under two hours.
Gulbis lost three of his first service points and hit 19 aces for his 30th match win of the year. His best Grand Slam championship result came at 2008 Roland Garros, when he fell in the quarter-finals (l. to Djokovic).
“It’s [the] first time in like six years [that] I have been in this room as a participant, not a spectator,” said Gulbis, smiling. “It is that long.
“I'm very pleased. Today, I served well. He had only one break point. I served, [on] average, one to two aces a game. Any opponent is going to have trouble with that."
On Saturday, he improved to 6-0 in ATP World Tour finals by lifting the Open de Nice Côte d'Azur crown (d. Delbonis).
When asked how he would play against Federer, Gulbis kept his cards close to his chest.
“Game plan? I don't want to tell all my cards. But I have a game plan. I know how I'm going to play him.”