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Page last updated at 16:52 GMT, Monday, 1 June 2009 17:52 UK

Federer survives five-set battle

FRENCH OPEN
Venue: Roland Garros Date: 24 May - 7 June
Coverage: Live on BBC Red Button, live streaming and daily text commentary on BBC Sport website, updates on BBC Radio 5 Live plus second week commentary on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra. TV coverage on Eurosport.


Roger Federer

Highlights - Federer made to battle (UK only)

Roger Federer kept his dream of a first French Open title alive by coming back from two sets down to beat the unseeded Tommy Haas and reach the last eight.

The exit of Federer's nemesis Rafael Nadal on Sunday has increased the second seed's hopes of glory in Paris.

But he was in big trouble when Haas won the first set on a tie-break and put on a late surge for the second set too.

Federer had to save a vital break point at 3-4 in the third set and recovered to triumph 6-7 (4-7) 5-7 6-4 6-0 6-2.

He will next face Gael Monfils after the French 11th seed beat American sixth seed Andy Roddick 6-4 6-2 6-3 in an ill-tempered encounter.

In a match that finished at 2140 local time, Roddick - whose big serve deserted him - complained about the fading light and took exception as Monfils whipped the partisan crowd into a frenzy.

Monfils said: "The crowd did a good job supporting me. At times, I asked them to wake up and try to bury Andy. They responded, and I think he was a bit annoyed. I apologise for that."

Roddick, however, admitted the Frenchman had every right to call on home support. "It's his advantage to use," he said.

Fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro won a highly-anticipated encounter with French hope Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-4, and the Argentine will next face 16th seed Tommy Robredo after the Spaniard beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.

You just have to tip your hat and say when you go for it and you're rewarded like that, that's too good

Haas on Federer's forehand at break point in the third set

Del Potro and Tsonga did not provide the classic match many had predicted as the Frenchman struggled to find his rhythm, despite a brief resurgence to win the second set tie-break.

"Both of us were very nervous," said Del Potro. "We were playing on the central court. It was quite tough, but I decided to remain calm during the match, even though I lost the second set.

"So it was one set all, and I thought he had do his best to still improve but he couldn't control his shots. He was not really at ease. He was not dictating at that moment during the match. I think perhaps his knee was hurting."

Tsonga said he had no physical problems, admitting: "I couldn't play my forehand the way I wanted to, and it was difficult for me to develop my game. I think it's due to my opponent. He was really excellent."

Federer, 27, has lost in each of the last three Paris finals to Nadal, and Roland Garros remains the only Grand Slam he has never won.

The Swiss star was hot favourite to overcome Haas, at 31 the oldest man still in the tournament, and began convincingly enough - winning every point in his first six service games.

But Federer could not break Haas either, and came off the rails dramatically at the start of the ensuing tie-break with a spate of errors that gave his opponent a 5-2 lead, and the German eventually served out for the set.

At the start of the second set it appeared Federer was back in control after he regained his composure to go a break up early on but again he paid the price for losing focus.

606: DEBATE
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Haas led 5-4 after breaking back and, with Federer's forehand now faltering, repeated the trick when he was 6-5 up to move two sets clear.

By now Federer's hopes were on a knife edge but he remained calm and found some sparkling shots to save himself when he was in trouble again at 3-4 in the third set - most crucially a huge forehand winner at 30-40.

You sensed Haas knew his chance had gone and, after quickly wrapping up the third set, Federer ran away with the fourth.

Things were much tighter at the start of the decider but Federer did not have to wait long for his chance, breaking to lead 3-2 when Haas saw a wild forehand fly well long.

From there, Federer was relatively untroubled as he closed out the match and he will play sixth seed Roddick or French hero Monfils in the quarter-finals.

"Tommy played a great match, I struggled to get into the encounter," said the 13-times Grand Slam champion.

"He was serving very well, first serve, second serve, I really had trouble returning. I just needed for him to play a bad game.

"Winning a five-set match gives you a lot of information and it gives you more motivation for the next match."

Haas admitted that Federer's save of the break point in the third set was the turning point.

"I thought I played a decent return," said the German. "I didn't really want to go for it too much, but I wanted to keep it deep and cross-court.

"He ran around it and played a really precise, nice forehand inside-out that almost touched the line for a winner.

"You just have to tip your hat and say when you go for it and you're rewarded like that, that's too good."



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see also
French Open day nine pictures
01 Jun 09 |  Tennis
French Open day nine as it happened
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Men's doubles latest
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Women's singles latest
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Nadal stays calm after shock loss
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Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis


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