Roger Federer knows he must get his gameplan right if he is to beat Fernando Gonzalez and reach the semi-finals of the French Open.
The world number one has made relatively easy progress through the draw as he bids to win his first Roland Garros title.
Federer did just enough in a 6-4 7-5 7-5 victory over Frenchman Julien Benneteau yesterday, which set up a last-eight meeting with Chilean Gonzalez – a straight-sets winner over Robby Ginepri.
“He is a dangerous player,” said Federer, of the 27-year-old.
“He was born on clay, more or less, and his tournament has been good. (Yesterday) was a key match for him. I practised with him when I arrived here, and he played well during practice. I must say he’s got one of the best forehands on the tour, so we’ll have to be very careful.
“He’s a very ’streaky’ player – he can go on a roll sometimes, but you’ve got to go against it.
“It will be important to serve well, and also to try to put him on the back foot. I think you also have to play aggressively. For me, it’s an interesting match.”
Gonzalez, who lost to Federer in the final of the Australian Open last year, improved his record on clay to 16-0 for the season with a 7-6 (7/4) 6-3 6-1 victory over unseeded American Ginepri.
The 24th seed knows he will now have a battle on his hands against a player he has beaten only once in 11 attempts.
“I don’t really know if I can win against him this time or not,” Gonzalez said.
“I don’t have a really good record against Roger, but we play many good matches and I really enjoy it. After him, there’s nobody else. He’s number one and you always have nothing to lose.”
Gonzalez indicated his best chance of victory against Federer would be to play a patient game.
“He’s a player who wins very quickly,” he continued.
“When the match is too long, I think he doesn’t really like it. That’s why he’s had so many problems with [Rafael] Nadal. Nadal puts pressure on him at each point.”
Gael Monfils played down his achievement in reaching a grand slam quarter-final for the first time, after defeating Ivan Ljubicic in the fourth round today.
Unseeded Monfils ensured there would be home representation in the last eight at Roland Garros, after winning in four sets against the 28th seed from Croatia.
Monfils, who next faces fifth seed David Ferrer, was among five Frenchmen to reach the fourth round – but the world number 59 will be alone in flying the Tricolour in the last eight after posting a 7-6 (7/1) 4-6 6-3 6-2 triumph.
“It was a good match,” said the 21-year-old. I’m not thinking about [reaching the quarter-finals]. As I always say, it’s a victory. I have a very difficult match next, but for me it doesn’t matter if it’s a quarter-final or something else.
“It’s just a big match, and I might reach the semi-final.”