Tuesday 21 November 2017

Roger Federer ponders 'another five years' of playing after making last 16 at French Open

Switzerland's Roger Federer in action during the third round at Roland Garros
Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff
Switzerland's Roger Federer in action during the third round at Roland Garros Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff

Tom Allnutt

Roger Federer suggested he could play on for another five years after the Swiss eased into the French Open last 16 with a straight-sets win over Damir Dzumhur.

It is the 11th consecutive year that Federer has made it past the third round at Roland Garros and the number two seed was untroubled as he won 6-4 6-3 6-2.

The 33-year-old last lifted a major trophy at Wimbledon in 2012 but he has been in good form this season and is yet to drop a set in Paris.

"Would winning a grand slam make me play longer? Possibly," Federer said.

"I may stop the following day or I may go on for another five years, I don't know.

"What I can tell you is that if I win Wimbledon or another grand slam, I'll be extremely happy so it won't make a difference."

Federer will now face either France's Gael Monfils and the 17-time grand slam champion will take confidence from an accomplished third-round performance.

"My own game was good," Federer said.

"It took me a little bit of time to get into it, to understand how is he serving, plus he was serving a few of the lines in the beginning.

"And then the wind was playing quite a big factor today early on, which made me mishit a few shots.

"Then once I got the rhythm it got better and better, and I was able to play more freely and mix up the game."

Dzumhur, who is the highest-ranked player ever from Bosnia and Herzegovina, said it was a privilege to play against Federer, whom he used to idolise when he was growing up.

"I was warming up and I was still not believing that I'm playing Roger Federer, I was feeling so strange, like I was dreaming," Dzumhur said.

"People from Bosnia told me that today everybody was in cafes or in their homes, nobody in the streets, they were watching me.

"I am playing just the third round of a grand slam, but for Bosnia, it's like our football team playing in the finals of the Champions League, it's like that."

Federer's next opponent Monfils twice came from behind to beat Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas 4-6 7-6 (7/1) 3-6 6-4 6-3.

Roared on by the home crowd on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, Monfils battled back from 4-1 down in the fourth to clinch another five-setter, having also won a decider in the second round against Diego Schwartzman.

Joining Monfils in the last 16 is Stan Wawrinka, who cruised past American Steve Johnson 6-4 6-3 6-2.

Wawrinka will now face France's Gilles Simon, in a repeat of the pair's marathon 2012 French Open match, which Wawrinka won 7-5 6-7 (7/5) 6-7 (7/3) 6-3 6-2.

"Gilles is always a tough player," Wawrinka said.

"He's difficult to handle. You have to be aggressive and really take the opportunities when they're there.

"I think Gilles' play will depend on me and on how I play. He tries to get you to come to the net, and you shouldn't.

"You shouldn't go when he wants you to go. You have to go when you want to do it yourself, when you feel like it. That makes a big difference."

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori and Teymuraz Gabashvili are also through to complete the bottom half of the draw.

In the top half, Britain's Andy Murray plays Australia's Nick Kyrgios on Saturday.

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