Thursday, April 19, 2018
Sports

Federer wins in four sets again

PARIS — Again far from his best, Roger Federer still managed to win at the French Open.

Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka, the top-ranked man and woman, had easier paths.

Federer, the 2009 champion at Roland Garros, was pushed to four sets Friday for the second straight match, this time beating Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the third round.

"I think for bigger guys it's about if you're able to move them around enough and they have to defend time and time again, this is maybe where you can expose some of their weaknesses," Federer, 30, said. "I thought he did well. (I) struggled a little bit, but overall obviously I'm happy I came through."

Federer improved his record number of Grand Slam match victories 235. The 16-time Slam champion is trying to become the first man older than 30 to win a major since Andre Agassi in 2003 at the Australian Open.

Djokovic also advanced, extending his Slam win streak to 24, beating Nicolas Devilder 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in a match that ended just as the sun was setting.

"Last 15 minutes was very hard," Djokovic said. "It was very important for me to finish the match today. I wouldn't like to come back tomorrow and play a few games."

Sloane Stephens of the United States reached the fourth round, beating Mathilde Johansson 6-3, 6-2. Of the eight teenagers in this draw, Stephens, 19, was the only one to make it to the third round.

"I'm excited because now I'm going to have more Twitter followers," Stephens said.

She plays No. 6 Sam Stosur, the 2010 runnerup and Tampa resident, who defeated Nadia Petrova 6-3, 6-3.

Azarenka advanced to the fourth round and Maria Sharapova to the third. But the big surprises came early in the day when third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska and 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic were eliminated.

Two days after beating Venus Williams, Radwanska was routed by 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-2. Radwanska didn't look anything like the player who overwhelmed Williams. "She was just playing very aggressive on both sides," Radwanska said. "She just had (an) answer for everything I was trying to do."

Radwanska has been having a stellar year, winning three titles and moving up to a career-high No. 3 ranking last month. But she is the only player in the top 10 who has never reached a Grand Slam semifinal.

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