Below-par Federer reaches landmark

Roger Federer was in record-breaking, if not sparkling, form at the French Open today as he joined world number one Novak Djokovic in the third round at Roland Garros.

Federer’s 6-3 6-2 6-7 (6/8) 6-3 victory over Adrian Ungur of Romania was his 234th in grand slam matches, taking him past the previous record held by Jimmy Connors that he equalled on Monday.

Were it not for the significance, Federer would probably want to forget today’s encounter after letting slip two match points and a 6-4 lead in the third-set tie-break.

The 30-year-old was not timing the ball particularly well, but managed to dig in when Ungur, ranked 92nd in the world, threatened a break at the start of the fourth set.

Djokovic also did not have things all his own away against Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic, the top seed coming from a break down in the second set to triumph 6-0 6-4 6-4.

The 25-year-old admitted he let his opponent back in after winning the first seven games, but gave Kavcic, who had a point for a 4-1 lead in the second set, plenty of credit.

Djokovic, who plays French qualifier Nicolas Devilder in round three, said: “He was defending really well in the second and third sets, especially in the second. He wasn’t missing as many balls as in the first set.

“But I gave him the opportunity to come back into the match after a perfect first set, first seven games. But this is tennis.

“Of course I didn’t underestimate my opponent today. I expected him to fight. I expected him to come back. He didn’t have anything to lose and he showed his quality and it was a really, really great second and third set.

“I’m happy with my game overall. I think everything was working really well. There were just a couple of games in the second set where I didn’t move as efficiently as maybe I did in the first set. But aside from that, everything is working great. I’m feeling better and better every match.”

Ninth seed Juan Martin Del Potro looked in trouble at a set and a break down to France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin, and seemed to be struggling physically, but he turned things around to triumph 6-7 (5/7) 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 6-4.

Croatia’s Marin Cilic, seeded 21st, defeated former French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 6-3 while 22nd seed Andreas Seppi edged out Mikhail Kukushkin 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 2-6 6-1 6-2.

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