Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

French Open: Federer passes Connors record

Roger Federer was in record-breaking, if not sparkling, form at the French Open as he joined world number one Novak Djokovic in the third round at Roland Garros.

Federer's 6-3 6-2 6-7 (6/8) 6-3 victory over Romania’s Adrian Ungur was his 234th in Grand Slams, taking him past the previous record held by Jimmy Connors that he equalled on Monday.

Were it not for the significance, Federer would probably want to forget yesterday's encounter after letting slip two match points and a 6-4 lead in the third-set tie-break.

The 30-year-old was not timing the ball particularly well but managed to dig in when Ungur, ranked 92nd in the world, threatened a break at the start of the fourth set.

Federer said: “I made two bad decisions on break points at the beginning of the third set, and I had started doing that at the end of the second set.

“I had a good position during the rally, and then I made the difficult choice instead of playing in a very simple way, winning the point and getting back to my chair with a break in my pocket.

“I was lucky. I reached the tie-break. And instead of being aggressive, I let him show me what he could do. He played two beautiful shots, and then I started not playing very well.

“We came to the fourth set. I made some decisions which were probably not the best ones, but at the end of the day, I had some margin. I did not lose any of my service games.”

Djokovic also did not have things all his own away against Slovenia's Blaz Kavcic, the top seed coming from a break down in the second set to triumph 6-0 |6-4 6-4.

The 25-year-old admitted he let his opponent back in after winning the first seven games but gave Kavcic, who had a point for a 4-1 lead in the second set, plenty of credit.

Djokovic, who plays French qualifier Nicolas Devilder in round three, said: “He was defending really well in the second and third sets, especially in the second. He wasn't missing as many balls as in the first set.

“But I gave him the opportunity to come back into the match after a perfect first set, first seven games. But this is tennis.

“Of course I didn't underestimate my opponent. I expected him to fight. I expected him to come back. He didn't have anything to lose and he showed his quality and it was a really, really great second and third set.

“I'm happy with my game overall. I think everything was working really well. There were just a couple of games in the second set where I didn't move as efficiently as maybe I did in the first set.”

Ninth seed Juan Martin Del Potro looked in trouble at a set and a break down and struggling with a knee problem against France's Edouard Roger-Vasselin, but he turned things around to triumph 6-7 (5/7) 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 6-4.

It was the end of the road, though, for America's Brian Baker, whose professional comeback has been one of the stories of the season. Among the world's leading juniors a decade ago, Baker was so troubled by injuries that he went back to college and began coaching before deciding to give the professional game one final go last year.

He beat Xavier Malisse in round one here and it looked like the fairytale would continue when he fought back from two sets to love down today against 11th seed Gilles Simon to level.

But playing his first five-set match proved one step too far and the Frenchman ran away with the decider to triumph 6-4 6-1 6-7 (4/7) 1-6 6-0.

“Hopefully there will be more to come but this was definitely the biggest thing that I've done since coming back,” said Baker.

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