French Open: Federer full of confidence after surviving Cilic challenge

By Sports Desk June 03, 2021

Roger Federer took "a lot of confidence" from his four-set win over Marin Cilic as he produced his best display of the year at the French Open.

The 39-year-old beat the 2014 US Open champion 6-2 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Thursday, building on his first-round defeat of Denis Istomin with an impressive performance.

Federer looked in command in the first set but lost rhythm in the second amid sharpened play from Cilic and a strange confrontation with the umpire after a time violation warning while receiving serve.

The match was on a knife-edge heading into the third-set tie-break, but Federer was clinical when it mattered, serving out the set with an ace before assuming control again in the fourth.

"[It was a] very good match for me, I thought," said Federer, who will face Dominik Koepfer in round three. "A bit of up-and-downs in the second and third sets.

"The good thing, I feel like I come out of a match like this and I know why it was up and down, and then that I was able to attain a solid level once he did break back in the third set and things were looking dangerous for me.

"That I was able to step up a gear, stay with him, and then pull away from him, I think that gives me a lot of confidence."

DJOKOVIC AND NADAL IN CRUISE CONTROL

World number one Novak Djokovic is another who is finding his feet on the Paris dirt, the 2016 champion beating clay specialist Pablo Cuevas 6-3 6-2 6-4.

Djokovic, who will face Ricardas Berankis next after his win over James Duckworth, struck 31 winners as he moved to 22-3 for the year with his 350th grand slam match win.

"I'm playing well, feeling great. I'm ready to go deep in this tournament," he said. "Hopefully, that's going to be the case."

Defending champion Rafael Nadal was in imperious form in the late match, dispatching Richard Gasquet 6-0 7-5 6-2.

Nadal, who turned 35 on Thursday, won the opening seven games in under half an hour in a largely one-sided contest as he improved to 17-0 against the Frenchman, the most one-sided head-to-head of his career.

The Spaniard, who has not even dropped a set to Gasquet since 2008, said of winning once again in three: "I honestly don't complain at all! The main thing for me is to feel myself play well.

"In theory, it's better to save some energy, but at the same time, sometimes when you are pushed at the beginning of a tournament, you went through some tough moments, that helps a lot for the next rounds.

"It happened for me in Rome like this. I had some tough challenges at the beginning of the tournament, and then you get to the quarters, semis and final and you know you're going to suffer and you're more ready for the situation."

MONFLIS OUT, KWON EYEING SLICE OF HISTORY

Cameron Norrie continued the British interest in the French capital, recovering from a set down to defeat Lloyd Harris and reach round three for the first time, and will face Nadal next.

In a mixed day for the seeded players, Diego Schwartzman and Matteo Berrettini advanced in straight sets while Jannik Sinner beat compatriot Gianluca Mager 6-1 7-5 3-6 6-3.

However, Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev was beaten in four sets by veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber, while 21st seed Alex De Minaur lost in four sets to Marco Cecchinato.

There was also disappointment for home favourite Gael Monfils. The 14th seed was beaten 6-0 2-6 6-4 6-3 by Mikael Ymer, the world number 105.

However, Thursday saw a moment to remember for Kwon Soon-woo, who reached round three of a major for the first time with a straight-sets victory over Andreas Seppi. He is bidding to become the first South Korean player to get to round four at Roland Garros.

There were impressive wins as well for teenagers Lorenzo Musetti and Carlos Alcaraz Garfica, who beat Nikoloz Basilashvili in straight sets to secure a meeting with Jan-Lennard Struff.

Related items

  • Raducanu 'extremely grateful' after being awarded MBE Raducanu 'extremely grateful' after being awarded MBE

    Emma Raducanu felt "extremely grateful" after being made an MBE for her services to tennis.

    The 20-year-old was presented with the honour by King Charles III in a ceremony at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.

    It comes 14 months after Raducanu's fairytale triumph at the US Open, where she became the first British female grand slam champion since Virginia Wade's Wimbledon victory in 1977.

    The then 18-year-old was also the first qualifier to land a major after her straight-sets her win over Leylah Fernandez in the championship match at Flushing Meadows.

    In a statement released via her agent, Raducanu said: "It's been great to receive my honour today from his Majesty the King - I feel extremely grateful."

    Raducanu did not enjoy a fruitful season in 2022, as she failed to win a trophy or progress beyond the second round in any of the grand slams.

    Her deepest run in a tournament came in September, when she reached the semi-finals of the Korea Open, but she had to retire hurt from a semi-final tie with Jelena Ostapenko.

  • Canada land first Davis Cup title as Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime sink Australian hopes Canada land first Davis Cup title as Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime sink Australian hopes

    Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov steered Canada to Davis Cup glory in Sunday's final against Australia in Malaga, earning the country their first title in the competition.

    Canada were runners-up three years ago in Madrid, when a 19-year-old Auger-Aliassime and 20-year-old Shapovalov lost their respective singles clashes with Roberto Bautista Agut and Rafael Nadal.

    Three years older and three years wiser, this time the Canadians dominated the trophy match at the expense of 28-time champions Australia.

    Shapovalov got Canada off to a flying start by crushing Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-2 6-4, setting up the chance for Auger-Aliassime to clinch victory without the need for the contest to go down to a doubles decider.

    World number six Auger-Aliassime made no mistake as he fended off Alex de Minaur 6-3 6-4, adding Davis Cup glory to the four singles titles he has gathered this year.

    Auger-Aliassime saved three break points in the sixth game of the second set, from 0-40, when a trailing De Minaur was looking to hit back. He then sealed Canada's victory minutes later with a forehand into the corner that his opponent could only return out of court, before being mobbed by team-mates.

    Each of Auger-Aliassime's 2022 titles came at indoor hard court events, and he has thrived again in those conditions this week, winning all three of his singles rubbers and a doubles tussle on Saturday against Italy alongside the experienced Vasek Pospisil.

    The Canadian pair got the job done just minutes before kick-off time in their country's World Cup game against Croatia.

    "The emotions are hard to describe," said Auger-Aliassime. "All of us here, we've dreamt of this moment.

    "These guys around me, except Vasek, he's a little bit older than me, we grew up together from the ages of seven, eight years old in Canada dreaming about being on this stage, winning these types of matches, winning a Davis Cup.

    "It's really a dream come true, for me personally and I think for all the team. It was a great moment for myself and the country."

  • Auger-Aliassime believes Canada's time has come as Davis Cup final awaits Auger-Aliassime believes Canada's time has come as Davis Cup final awaits

    Felix Auger-Aliassime is eager to cap a "special year" by leading Canada to Davis Cup glory on Sunday after playing a pivotal role in the semi-final win over Italy.

    Standing in the way of Canada, who were runners-up in 2019 but have never won the event, are 28-time champions Australia after Lleyton Hewitt's team beat Croatia on Friday.

    The Australians have had a day to recover from their efforts, while Canada's success came on Saturday and they must look to carry momentum into the title match in Malaga.

    Lorenzo Sonego gave Italy a 1-0 lead over Canada by beating Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 in an opening clash that lasted three hours and 14 minutes.

    That piled pressure on Auger-Aliassime in the next rubber, as he took on Lorenzo Musetti, but it did not show as he powered to a 6-3 6-4 victory to tie the overall match and set up a decisive doubles contest.

    Canada captain Frank Dancevic chose Auger-Aliassime over Shapovalov to partner Vasek Pospisil against Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini, and the decision paid off as they earned a 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 win.

    It has been a super 2022 already for Auger-Aliassime, who has won his first four singles titles on the ATP Tour and climbed to number six in the rankings, and the year could be crowned from his perspective with the most prized team trophy in men's tennis.

    "It's been a special journey, special year," said Auger-Aliassime. "I think this is the most complete team that we have had in the history of Canadian tennis. I feel we deserve to be in that position now.

    "I have said it many times throughout the years, this is one of the goals I think for all the guys to go far and to win it all.

    "I'm really proud of everybody's effort. It's been a great journey. It's the last day tomorrow of Davis Cup for this year, so we're ready to give it all."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.