x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Federer sets record as Djokovic's run goes on

Roger Federer set another record by reaching the French Open quarter-finals and Novak Djokovic closed in on a pair of his own.

Roger Federer set yet another record by reaching the French Open quarter-finals yesterday, while Novak Djokovic closed in on a pair of his own.

Federer extended his quarter-final streak at major tournaments to 28 with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 victory over his Swiss Olympic gold-medal doubles partner Stanislas Wawrinka.

"Twenty-eight quarter-finals in a row, that's great," Federer said. "But that's another opportunity for me to go one step further."

Shortly after Federer's match on Court Philippe Chatrier, Djokovic maintained his perfect season and stretched his overall winning streak to 43 matches by beating Richard Gasquet of France 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.

"I'm definitely playing the best tennis of my life," Djokovic said, "and I'm trying to stay focused on each game and we'll see how far I can go."

The last time Federer failed to reach the quarter-finals at a major was at the 2004 French Open, when he was the top-seeded player but lost to Gustavo Kuerten in the third round.

Federer again dominated with his serve on Sunday. He was broken once early in the third set, but broke back twice to remain one of four players to have won every match in straight sets.

"I was playing with the wind against me, and it was a bad game because all of a sudden there was more wind, and I had the feeling that I was playing against the wind and not against Stan," Federer said of the third set.

"So in the end I made wrong decisions."

Djokovic is 41-0 in 2011, including a pair of clay court final wins over the top-ranked Rafael Nadal. If he beats unseeded Fabio Fognini in the quarter-finals tomorrow, he will match John McEnroe's record for the best start to the season.

With three more wins, Djokovic will equal Guillermo Vilas's overall Open era record of 46 consecutive victories.

Fabio Fognini, the first Italian to reach the quarter-finals at Roland Garros since 1995, overcame a cramping left leg and five match points to defeat Albert Montanes of Spain 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 11-9.

Federer and Djokovic could meet in the semi-finals if they are both successful in their respective quarter-final clashes.

In the women's competition, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova knocked out the highest-seeded player remaining, beating Vera Zvonareva 7-6, 2-6, 6-2 to earn a spot in the quarter-finals.

Zvonareva, the Russian followed No 1 Caroline Wozniacki and No 2 Kim Clijsters out of the tournament after losing to Pavlyuchenkova, at 19 the youngest player still in the tournament. Wozniacki and Clijsters both lost in the third round.

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus is now the highest seeded player left at No 4.

"I don't really want to comment on this, because, well, it's not of my business," Pavlyuchenkova said. "I'm just trying to do my thing, focusing on me. … The rest, I don't really care."

It is only the third time that none of the three highest-seeded women have reached the quarter-finals at a grand slam tournament in the Open era, which began in 1968, and the first time at the French Open. It happened at Wimbledon in 2008, when the top four were eliminated by the end of the fourth round, and at the Australian Open in 1997.

Zvonareva reached the Wimbledon and US Open finals last year and the Australian Open semi-finals in January.

She saved two match points in the final game against Pavlyuchenkova before hitting a forehand long on the third.

"Well, that's, I guess, part of the game. I know what I have to work on and what I have to improve," said Zvonareva, who saved a match point in the second round before advancing.

"Of course, when you play less than 50 per cent of your potential, it's very tough to win the fourth round of a grand slam."

For the 14th-seeded Pavlyuchenkova, the result is her best at a grand slam tournament.

In the past, Pavlyuchenko said she might not have thought she could win when she trailed a player like Zvonareva by a break, but her confidence has risen. "I think that was the main key."

Francesca Schiavone, the defending champion, beat Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. The Italian No 5 seed will meet Pavlyuchenko next.