• French Open, Day Four

Ungur disturbs Federer's tranquillity but Swiss prevails

ESPN staff
May 30, 2012

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Roger Federer's bid for a repeat of his 2009 success at Roland Garros remains on course, but only after he dropped a set against Adrian Ungur en route to a record-breaking victory in the second round of the French Open.

Federer's win was his 234th in grand slam competition, moving him clear of Jimmy Connors for the most victories in major competition in the Open era.

The Swiss, traditionally a slow-starter in grand slam events, never had to produce anything particularly eye-catching as he waltzed into a two-set lead against his world No. 92-ranked opponent. However, that undisturbed stroll in the Paris afternoon air was ruined when Ungur deservedly stole the third, before Federer eventually got the job done for a 6-3 6-2 6-7(6) 6-3 victory.

Ungur carried more than a semblance of threat onto Court Philippe Chatrier, having knocked out David Nalbandian in the opening round, and he managed to create two set points in the third before taking the tiebreaker. His one-handed backhand, when accurate, is a thing of beauty, but he was ultimately outdone in the style stakes by Federer.

A break in Ungur's first service game gave Federer all the control he needed to serve out the rest of the set. Adopting the guise of a squash player dominating the 'T', Federer exerted as little energy as possible as he experimented with angles, no doubt with one eye on the challenges ahead.

Sterner examinations of his French Open credentials are to come, particularly as Ungur was enjoying the occasion of his debut grand slam. However, Federer still impressed with how uncomplicated his game was at times, breaking twice in the second as he carved backhands out wide and fired forehands down the line.

However, just when it looked like he would join Djokovic in round three, Federer's march was derailed by the inspired hitting of Ungur, who created two set-point opportunities at 4-5 in the third set. Federer managed to save those, but he was outgunned in the tiebreaker as Ungur found a series of backhands to force matters into a fourth set.

Federer had hit over 40 winners but had to face another break point in the opening game of the fourth, saved by a solid serve. Instead it was the Swiss who made the move by penetrating the Ungur delivery for 2-0, and after two hours and 27 minutes on court he finally stamped his ticket to the next round.

Juan Martin Del Potro, always a threat at grand slams, battled through adversity to beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-7(5) 7-6(3) 6-4 6-4. Del Potro had lost his only previous clash with the Frenchman, but that head-to-head now reads 1-1 as the ninth seed came from behind to win.

The opening set was decided by a tiebreaker after four breaks were shared, and Del Potro then had to call for the doctor in the second to tend to a knee problem. Nevertheless he levelled through the second breaker of the match, before edging the next two sets for a hard-earned victory.

Del Potro will play No. 21 seed Marin Cilic in the next round after the Croatian beat Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-6(4) 6-2 6-3. Ferrero, the 2003 champion, never got to grips with the Cilic serve, which offered up just three break chances in the match.

Tomas Berdych was another to advance, taking out Michael Llodra 6-2 6-3 6-3. He will now face Kevin Anderson, who defeated Horacio Zeballos 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-0.

Home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, perhaps France's best hope for a winner in Paris, dropped the second set against Cedrik-Marcel Stebe. The match was finely poised at 6-2 4-6 1-1 when the umpire stopped play due to rain on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Elsewhere, 18th seed Stanislas Wawrinka beat Pablo Andujar 7-6(3) 6-7(4) 6-2 6-1, Gilles Simon went the distance in his win over in-form Brian Baker, and 14th seed Fernando Verdasco was a 6-7(5) 6-3 6-2 6-2 winner over Gilles Muller.

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