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Nadal drops set but beats Goffin, Federer through in three in Paris

Rafael Nadal

Paris, June 1: Rafael Nadal dropped a set at the French Open on Friday, but Roger Federer got the job done in three against Casper Ruud.

Goffin joined Diego Schwartzman to become just the second man to avoid a straight-sets loss to Nadal at Roland Garros in the four most recent additions of the tournament, though the Spaniard still triumphed 6-1 6-4 4-6 6-3.

Grand slam main-draw debutant Juan Ignacio Londero will be the next up for the 'King of Clay' after overcoming Corentin Moutet 2-6 6-3 6-4 5-7 6-4 and his fellow Argentinian Leonardo Mayer booked a meeting with Federer by beating Nicolas Mahut 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 7-6 (7-3).

Kei Nishikori added to his remarkable record in deciding sets, while Martin Klizan also had to go the distance to eliminate home hope Lucas Pouille in a match held over from Thursday.

Bad light meant Stefanos Tsitsipas' match against Filip Krajinovic, as well as the clash between Grigor Dimitrov and Stan Wawrinka, had to be halted before reaching a conclusion, meaning they will have to return to the court on Saturday.

NADAL WARY OF LONDERO

Londero won his first ATP Tour title as a wildcard in Cordoba in February – it was just fourth tournament at that level.

He is the first man to reach the last 16 on his grand slam debut since Goffin at Roland Garros in 2012, and Nadal knows better than to take the challenge lightly.

"Well, he plays very well right now. I think it's going to be a very difficult match, demanding, but I'm prepared to fight at a very high level," said the defending champion.

FEDERER TIPS RUUD FOR SUCCESS

When Federer made his grand slam debut at the French Open in 1999, Ruud's father and coach Christian was also in the main draw.

The 20-year-old performed respectably on Court Suzanne-Lenglen and Federer is confident a promising future awaits the Norwegian prospect.

"I like a lot in his game. Today I saw the clay-courter. But I'm sure he's also got the hard-court game in him, and I think he's going to be obviously easy top 50, top 20, hopefully soon," said the third seed.

"From then on, anything is possible at some stage once you get in the top 20."

NISHIKORI THE FINAL-SET KING

Seventh seed Nishikori looked to be heading for an upset when he went two breaks down at the start of the fifth set against Laslo Djere.

However, the Japanese rallied from behind to triumph in four hours and 26 minutes to improve his Open Era-record for the best winning percentage (74.4) in deciding sets, moving to 131-45 when pushed the distance.

Nishikori will encounter a fresher-than-expected Benoit Paire in round four after Pablo Carreno Busta retired from his match against the Frenchman due to a thigh problem.

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Story first published: Saturday, June 1, 2019, 2:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Jun 1, 2019
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