Nadal, Federer target second week at Roland Garros
Updated 31-05-19 | 06:21 AM | Sport Writer
Roger Federer continues his first French Open campaign in four years on Friday with a third-round match against Norway’s Casper Ruud, while reigning champion Rafael Nadal faces Belgian David Goffin.
Here, AFP Sport takes a look at three matches to watch on the sixth day of the tournament:
ROGER FEDERER (SUI X3) V CASPER RUUD (NOR)
Federer heads into his 15th Roland Garros third-round match looking in strong form after back-to-back straight-sets wins over Italian Lorenzo Sonego and German lucky loser Oscar Otte, and faces another unknown quantity in Casper Ruud.
The Norwegian’s father Christian actually played in the 1999 French Open when a 17-year-old Federer made his main-draw debut.
“They practised together,” said Casper ahead of his big day on Court Suzanne Lenglen. “So I think I remember I thought it was cool, but I was young when he told me. I didn’t realise how big of a player and champion Roger was at the time.”
Federer has gone on to win a record 20 Grand Slam titles since, although his sole French Open success came 10 years ago.
RAFAEL NADAL (ESP X2) V DAVID GOFFIN (BEL X27)
Nadal leads head-to-head 3-1
Nadal faces a tricky contest against former top-10 player Goffin on Court Philippe Chatrier after strolling through his first two rounds against German qualifiers Yannick Hanfmann and Yannick Maden.
The 11-time champion is a red-hot favourite to win a record-extending 12th title, and has beaten Goffin in three of their four meetings, including all three on clay.
But Goffin will take heart from their quarterfinal meeting in Madrid two years ago, when he managed to force a tie-break in the opening set.
“He (Goffin) is a very complex player. He has all the shots,” said Nadal.
“He’s a player who has had an amazing career, and we practised a lot of times. We know each other well.”
ELINA SVITOLINA (UKR X9) V GARBINE MUGURUZA (ESP X19)
Svitolina leads head-to-head 5-3
– Ninth seed Svitolina will go into her clash with 2016 champion Muguruza fresh after receiving a walkover through the second round when fellow Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova withdrew from the tournament.
Svitolina has struggled with injuries this season but said she is back to full fitness, while former world No 1 Muguruza has slipped down the rankings in the last 18 months.
The 24-year-old Svitolina holds a 5-3 lead in their head-to-head record, having won their last three meetings, including their only one on clay in the 2017 Rome semifinals when Muguruza retired with injury.