Roger Federer will get to test himself against another of the game’s rising stars on Friday, taking on young Norwegian Casper Ruud for a spot in the fourth round. It was noted earlier in the week that Ruud’s father, Christian, was present in the 1999 French Open – Federer’s very first slam main draw. “I know probably more about his dad than about him. Even though I never played him, the father,” Federer said. “I know that he has improved a lot in recent years, and I think he plays very well on the clay.
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The 20 year-old has been having a strong year, finally making a breakthrough into the top 100 after showing promise in years prior. Much of that are down to strong runs on the clay, making the semi finals in Sao Paolo and final in Houston. He would need another win to surpass his current ranking and career high of 63, but will remain solidly inside the top 70 regardless. He was on top form against Ernests Gulbis and more impressively, Matteo Berretini, beating the pair in straight sets to get this far. It’s going to be a big moment for the Ruud, playing against one of the best ever. “I can play loose and free. I have nothing to stress about or think too much about,” he said. “I will be a bit excited and nervous, but I will just look at it as a great opportunity and a privilege to be able to play Roger.”
Federer put in another solid performance to advance, breaking once in each set to defeat Oscar Otte 6-4 6-3 6-4. He was backed by a strong serving performance, meaning he was rarely in trouble against his less decorated opponent. “I must say I feel really good, considering I haven’t played here in that long. Especially if I think back a few weeks and months ago before Madrid, didn’t know how successful I was going to play or how I was going to feel on the clay.” he said.
The draw has been kind to Federer so far and he will avoid another seed in round four, playing the winner of the Leonardo Mayer-Nicolas Mahut match. Things will be tougher in a potential quarter final with Stefanos Tsitsipas amongst the potential foes.
Prediction – Roger Federer in straight sets