PARIS – In what seemed like a flash, and in what surely felt like a flash of pain for his opponent, Roger Federer went from vulnerable to commanding.
It was that quick.
Federer lost a second-set tiebreaker Friday to Dmitry Tursunov, and that surely did not bode well for the 17-time Grand Slam champion. Then Tursunov felt a split second of discomfort in his left hip.
And that was it. Federer was back on track at the French Open, on his way to a 7-5, 6-7 (7), 6-2, 6-4 win and into the second week of a major tournament yet again.
“Everything that was out of his control, like moving defense, that’s when it got difficult,” said Federer, who advanced to the fourth round at Roland Garros for the 10th straight year. “Clearly, on the clay, it’s difficult to hit three great shots in a row. So I tried to extend the rallies, but serve nice and stay aggressive throughout. And I think that was a bit too much for his hip, or whatever it was.”
It was something of an escape for Federer, who lost a set for the first time at this year’s tournament. Then again, Novak Djokovic also lost a set Friday before advancing with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-4 win over 25th-seeded Marin Cilic.
With eight-time champion Rafael Nadal and 2013 finalist David Ferrer perfect through their opening two matches, the pressure is on the others to keep their level high.
Of course, that’s nothing compared to the women’s tournament, where third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska followed defending champion Serena Williams and Li Na out of the tournament.
That leaves Simona Halep, who plays today, as the highest-seeded player in the draw at No. 4. It also leaves 2012 French Open champion Maria Sharapova as the favorite after her 6-0, 6-0 third-round rout of Paula Ormaechea of Argentina.
Isner, Raonic advance
John Isner became the first American man to reach the French Open’s fourth round since 2010, beating 17th-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain 7-6 (13), 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 7-5. The 10th-seeded Isner is also the first man from the U.S. to get to the final 16 at any Grand Slam tournament since Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish at the 2012 U.S. Open. … Eighth-seeded Milos Raonic became the first Canadian man in history to reach the fourth round at the French Open, beating Gilles Simon of France 4-6, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5. Raonic has twice made the fourth round at the Australian Open and twice at the U.S. Open, but his best result at Roland Garros had been the third round.