It wasn’t easy, but Roger Federer made it to the fourth round of the French Open after a four-set win over German Dominik Koepfer on the Philipe Chatrier court.
In a match that ended around 1 a.m. Paris time on Sunday, Federer scored a 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4) 7-5 victory in front of an empty stadium. The stands were empty due to the 9pm curfew in Paris.
The 3 1/2 hour epic forced Federer to dig deep after losing the second set and falling 4-2 in the third. World No. The experience of the 8 qualified players on the big stage shone in the final stages of the close match.
There was great drama in the fourth set when Koepfer’s emotions threatened to flare after a phone call went against him.
Locked at 1-1 in the set, left-hander Koepfer was down 30-40 when he sent a backhand to the right. He was called by the line person and confirmed by the chair umpire.
Unhappy with the call, Koepfer walked over to Federer’s side of the net and spat on the mark.
The German had a point deducted from his next match for unsportsmanlike conduct and went on to lose the set and the match.
Federer advances to a fourth-round clash with ninth seed Matteo Berrettini on Tuesday. A win over the hard-hitting Berrettini would likely set up a quarter-final showdown with Novak Djokovic.
Earlier on Saturday, Rafael Nadal was in impeccable form in a quick 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Cam Norrie. The Spaniard has won 30 consecutive sets at the French Open and will play Italian rising star Jannik Sinner in the fourth round.
“It’s going to be difficult,” Nadal said. “He is young, he is improving every week, he has great shots.
“I need to be solid. I need to be aggressive too, because if not, it’s difficult. I need to make him play from difficult positions, and I can’t make too many mistakes.”
In the women’s draw, defending champion Iga Swiatek was broken in the first set against Anett Kontaveit, but rallied to score a 7-6 (4), 6-0 victory to advance to the second week.
Swiatek plays Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk in the round of 16.
Sofia Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open champion, lost the first set before beating fellow American Jessica Pegula 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, taking the victory after converting her third match point.
Teen sensation Coco Gauff will make her debut appearance in the fourth round of the French Open after Jennifer Brady withdrew with a foot injury.
Gauff won the first set 6-1 when Brady was forced out. The youngster is now ready to play Ons Jabeur in the round of 16.