Roger Federer made short work of Argentinian Leonardo Mayer to become the oldest man in 28 years to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final at the French Open on Sunday.
The 37-year-old, playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, claimed a 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 win over world number 68 Mayer in a sweltering 32 degrees and will face either Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas or close friend and fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka in the last eight.
“It’s fabulous that I can spend this time in Paris,” said Federer who last played the tournament in 2015 when he lost in the quarter-finals to Wawrinka.
Tsitsipas, meanwhile, defeated Federer in the last 16 of the Australian Open in January.
“I was prepared for the worst scenario, losing in the first round in three sets. But I am super happy with my performance.
“I will need to play like this again against either Stan or Tsitsipas.”
Federer will be playing in his 54th quarter-final at a Slam, cementing his place on top of the all-time men’s list.
Despite leading Wawrinka 23-3 in career head-to-head meetings, Federer said he still remembers his quarter-final loss to his friend in Paris four years ago.
“I have a bad memory of it. Stan beat me in three sets with his terrible shorts!
“But he played really great that year and won the title.”
Federer didn’t face a break point in the fourth round match against an outclassed world number 68 Mayer on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Later on Sunday, Rafael Nadal continues his bid for a record-extending 12th title against Argentinian Grand Slam debutant Juan Ignacio Londero.
From Federer to Vondrousova
In a wide-open women’s draw after the shock exits of top seed Naomi Osaka and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams on Saturday, 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova reached her maiden major quarter-final by thrashing Anastasija Sevastova.
The unseeded Czech, ranked 38th, overcame a tame effort from Latvian 12th seed Sevastova, winning 6-2, 6-0 in only 59 minutes.
“You can’t expect you’re going to play quarter-finals in a Grand Slam, but I played some tough matches,” said Vondrousova. “I’m just happy with my game.”
She will face 31st seed Petra Martic for a semi-final spot, after the Croatian followed up her third-round upset of second seed Karolina Pliskova by coming from a set down to beat Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi.
The 28-year-old booked her place in the last eight of a Grand Slam for the first time with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 victory, recovering breaks of serve in both the second and third sets.
British number one Johanna Konta continued her comfortable progress through the draw by seeing off Croatia’s Donna Vekic in straight sets to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final since Wimbledon in 2017.
The 26th seed overpowered Vekic 6-2, 6-4 to set up a last-eight tie with either last year’s runner-up Sloane Stephens or 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza.
“I feel fortunate to have played in the why I did against a player like Donna,” she said.
The 28-year-old had lost in the first round on all of her four previous appearances in the main draw in Paris, but has broken that hoodoo in style, becoming the first British woman to reach the second week since Anne Hobbs and Jo Durie in 1983.
On Saturday, Japanese star Osaka’s bid for a third successive Grand Slam title found an underwhelming conclusion with an erratic display in defeat by Katerina Siniakova, before Williams crashed out in similarly poor fashion to fellow American Sofia Kenin.
At least five women will reach their first Roland Garros quarter-final this year, the first time that has happened since 2001.
By Jed Court
© Agence France-Presse