Tuesday 16 January 2018

Record for Robredo after third fightback

Paul Newman IN PARIS

Tommy Robredo was named after a rock opera and yesterday the 31-year-old Spaniard added a new song to what is becoming an extraordinary repertoire.

Robredo, who owes his first name to his father's love of The Who's 'Tommy', became the first man for 86 years, and only the second in history, to win three successive Grand Slam matches from two sets down when he beat Nicolas Almagro to reach the French Open quarter-finals.

Having overcome Igor Sijsling in three hours in the second round and Gael Monfils in three hours and 46 minutes in the third, Robredo needed three hours and 49 minutes to beat Almagro 6-7 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-4 in the fourth. He now faces fellow 31-year-old David Ferrer, who has his own reputation as a marathon man.

The only other man to win three Grand Slam matches in a row from two sets down was Henri Cochet, one of France's 'Four Musketeers', who fought back to beat Frank Hunter, Bill Tilden and Jean Borotra and win Wimbledon in 1927.

What makes Robredo's story even more remarkable is the fact that the former world No 5 was an all but forgotten figure 12 months ago.

COMEBACK

Having been out of the game for eight months because of a hamstring injury, Robredo was ranked No 471 in the world when he began his comeback playing at a Challenger tournament in Italy last June.

Rafael Nadal, Ferrer and Juan Carlos Ferrero are the only Spaniards who can better Robredo's record of 85 Grand Slam wins, but he had lost all five of his previous meetings with Almagro, the last four in straight sets.

The world No 13 won the first two sets here and was a break up in each of the next three, but Robredo refused to capitulate, despite a painful arm that at times made it difficult even to hold his racquet. At the end he fell to his knees in tears and kissed the court surface.

Roger Federer extended his all-time record of consecutive appearances in Grand Slam quarter-finals to 36, but was pushed hard by Gilles Simon. Federer, who won 6-1 4-6 2-6 6-2 6-3, last failed to reach the last eight of a Grand Slam event when he lost to Gustavo Kuerten in the third round here nine years ago.

Federer now plays world No 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat Serbia's Viktor Troicki 6-3 6-3 6-3. Serena Williams extended her career-best winning streak to 28 matches by beating Roberta Vinci 6-1 6-3 to earn a quarter-final against Svetlana Kuznetsova. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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