TENNIS / Roger Federer and Serena Williams through to the fourth round
Defending champion Rafael Nadal blasted French Open schedulers as a “joke” on Friday as long-time rival Roger Federer remained on Roland Garros easy street.
Spanish third seed Nadal, chasing an unprecedented eighth Paris title, saw off Slovakia's Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to record his 54th win in 55 matches at the tournament.
For the second match in succession, the 26-year-old dropped the first set as he struggled in the cold, heavy conditions where the temperature just crept over the 12-degree mark.
He then launched a blistering attack on tournament chiefs who he described as a “joke” and claimed he was being treated unfairly.
With third seed Nadal having to play his third round match on Saturday, second seed Federer has already ensured his place in the last 16.
His 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 win over France’s 30th seed Julien Benneteau marked his best start to the tournament.
He has dropped just 23 games in three rounds compared to 24 in 2007 and 27 in 2010.
Federer, the 2009 champion, next faces Gilles Simon, the 15th-seeded Frenchman who beat American 18th seed Sam Querrey 2-6, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-2.
Federer has a 3-2 record over Simon, beating him in Rome two weeks ago in their only meeting on clay.
The 17-time major winner said that Nadal had just been unlucky with the scheduling.
“I understand the frustration, but it’s complicated. Fifty per cent of players couldn’t complete their matches on Thursday,” said the Swiss.
Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer, who made the semifinals in 2012, continued his low-key run, beating compatriot Feliciano Lopez, 6-1, 7-5, 6-4, to set-up a fourth round clash against Kevin Anderson.
The 23rd seed became the first South African to reach the fourth round since Wayne Ferreira in 1996 when he knocked out Canadian 14th seed Milos Raonic, 7-5, 7-6(4), 6-3.
“Wayne was a great player,” said Anderson, who made his first career claycourt final in Casablanca this year.
French wildcard Gael Monfils, who had shocked fifth seed Tomas Berdych in the first round, squandered four match points before going down to Tommy Robredo.
The Spanish veteran missed the 2011 and 2012 tournaments due to a leg injury and saw his world ranking plummet to 471.
But the 31-year-old, a four-time quarterfinalist, turned back the clock to win 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-2, 7-6(3), 6-2.
He will meet compatriot, 11th-seeded Nicolas Almagro, for a place in the quarterfinals.
Croatia’s 10th seed Marin Cilic was the biggest casualty, losing 7-6(12), 6-4, 7-5 to Serbia’s Viktor Troicki.
Troicki will next face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, regarded as France’s best hope of a first men’s champion since Yannick Noah in 1983.
Sixth-seeded Tsonga defeated Jeremy Chardy, 6-1, 6-2, 7-5.
Sania Mirza and Robert Lindstedt, the top seeds, crashed out in the first round of the mixed doubles event, suffering a 6-2, 6-3 loss to Cara Black and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi.
Sania will now pin her hopes in the women’s doubles event where she and partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands have been seeded seventh. — Agencies