Arguably the most compelling fourth round match-up at the 2014 French Open is the rare clash between 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and Latvian Ernests Gulbis. This is just the fourth time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, and their first meeting in over four years. Federer leads the head-to-head series 2-1.
World No. 4 Roger Federer needed four sets to defeat Dmitry Tursunov with a 7-5, 6-7(7), 6-2, 6-4 in three hours and seven minutes. Overall, the Swiss star maintained a positive ratio on-court, as he his 15 aces to 1 double fault, as well as 56 winners to 39 unforced errors.
Not only did Federer pick up another strong win in his third round match-up against Tursunov, he also broke the existing Roland Garros record set by Guillermo Vilas, who had reached the Final 16 on 11 occasions.
“At the start of my career, clay was not my favourite surface,” said Federer. “I got my best results in indoor courts or hard courts, so people thought at that time that I was only a fast-court player. But that’s not the case, so I’m very happy with this record, and I’m enjoying it.”
Next for Federer is a match-up against Gulbis, who’s sole victory against him came on clay.
“Clearly he [Gulbis] has to be confident after winning a tournament last week and now backing it up again here this week and cruising through, really,” said Federer. “I’m aware of the challenge ahead of me, and difficult match I think because I have had some tough matches with him in the past.”
– Federer is in 2nd place for most wins at Roland Garros (61 wins), behind only Nadal (62)
Latvian No. 1 Ernests Gulbis had a smoother entry into the fourth round in Roland Garros, as he defeated Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours. Gulbis hit 45 winners and 30 unforced errors to set up the clash with “boring” Federer.
“I’m very pleased. Today, I served well. He had only one break point. I served, [on] average, one to two aces a game. Any opponent is going to have trouble with that.”
When asked what his gameplan is against Federer, he responded:
“Game plan? I don’t want to tell all my cards. But I have a game plan. I know how I’m going to play him.”
Prediction: Roger Federer in Four Sets