Federer, Sharapova advance with straight-set wins in French Open

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Federer, Sharapova advance with straight-set wins in French Open

Federer will next be up against either 13th-seeded Gael Monfils or No. 21 seed Pablo Cuevas.

By (AP)

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Published: Sat 30 May 2015, 11:39 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 11:41 PM

Switzerland’s Roger Federer in action at the French Open on Friday. — Reuters

Switzerland’s Roger Federer in action at the French Open on Friday. — Reuters

Paris — Stepping onto centre court to take on 88th-ranked Damir Dzumhur, Roger Federer was on his guard.  The 17-time Grand Slam champion had been caught cold at a previous French Open by a player ranked as low as the 23-year-old Bosnian, and he made sure that did not happen again. Federer advanced to the fourth round for the 11th straight year with a clinical 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 win Friday.

“I’d never played him before, he moves well, he’s very quick. I didn’t know him and I didn’t know how he’d play on the key points,” said Federer, who lost in the first round in Paris to the 88th-ranked Luis Horna 12 years ago.

“Mentally I’m not always as relaxed as people might think, there is so much at stake,” Federer said.

The 33-year-old Federer, who is seeded second at the tournament, won his only French Open title in 2009 when he completed his career Grand Slam. After winning his first two matches in straight sets, Federer put on another aggressive and solid display, winning 24 points at the net and saving four of the five break points he faced.  “Once I got the rhythm it got better and better, and I was able to play more freely and mix up the game,” Federer said.

The Swiss hit a superb forehand passing shot to earn a match point and sealed it when Dzumhur sent a backhand into the net. Federer will next be up against either 13th-seeded Gael Monfils or No. 21 seed Pablo Cuevas.

On a good day for the favourites, defending champion Maria Sharapova produced a convincing 6-3, 6-4 win over former finalist Samantha Stosur and Federer’s Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka advanced in straight sets. After struggling in her first two matches at the French Open, Ana Ivanovic eased past Donna Vekic 6-0, 6-3 to book a spot in the second week.

It was Sharapova’s first serious test this year, and she passed it with ease, in a sharp contrast to her previous match with Stosur in Paris last year, when she trailed 6-3, 4-3 before turning it around. Up next for the second-seeded Sharapova is another tricky match against No. 13 seed Lucie Safarova. Sharapova has won four of their five matches, but their last three went to three sets.

On a cold morning in the French capital, it took Ivanovic just 53 minutes to return to a fourth round at a major tournament for the first time in more than a year. Ivanovic, who won the French Open in 2008 after losing in the final a year before, wrapped up the first set in 23 minutes and finished with 19 winners.

“After the first two matches, I really started to get a little bit of feeling and groove,” said the Serb, who was pushed to deciders in the first and second rounds after twice losing the opening set. The last time Ivanovic made the fourth round of a major was at the Australian Open in 2014. She was eliminated by 142nd-ranked Lucie Hradecka in Melbourne earlier this year after playing with a broken toe.

Since winning the title seven years ago, Ivanovic has never progressed past the fourth round in Roland Garros. Her next opponent on the Parisian red clay will be No. 9 seed Ekaterina Makarova, who defeated Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-4.

Playing on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Ivanovic was broken in the third game of the second set. She recovered quickly though, winning five of the next six games.

Also, local favourite Alize Cornet advanced to her maiden fourth-round match in 11 attempts at her home tournament with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 hard-fought win over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who finished with 59 unforced errors after her all-risk approach backfired.

Cornet celebrated her victory as if she had won the tournament, falling onto her back, letting out a scream and then bursting into tears. “At last, I’m into the second week at Roland,” Cornet said. “I’ve been waiting for this for 11 years.”

In the men’s event, 20th-seeded Richard Gasquet needed 32 minutes to complete a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 win over Carlos Berlocq and advance to the third round after an encounter that spanned over two days. The players were locked at two sets apiece when their match was stopped Thursday evening.

“My preparation will be shortened, but everything’s fine for me, I’m physically well,” said Gasquet, who will face 15th-seeded Kevin Anderson in his next match and has just one day to recover. 

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