Two of the favourites for the singles titles at Roland Garros have duly taken their places in the last-sixteen today. Both Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova were convincing straight-sets winners in their respective matches. Federer's Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka also came through, as did Gilles Simon in a five-setter against his fellow countryman Nicolas Mahut. Joining Sharapova in the women's fourth round will be Ana Ivanovic.
Federer's form at the French
Federer is a past master on the clay in Paris, as his latest third round victory propelled him into an eleventh straight year in the fourth round there. Although he only has one French Open title in 2009 to his name, that probably has more to do with the previous brilliance of Rafa Nadal on the surface, than any major deficiency in his game.
The 33-year-old Swiss player had few concerns against Damir Dzumhur on Friday, cruising to a 6-4 6-3 6-2 success. The Bosnian has a ranking more than eighty places lower than Federer in the world, so the outcome was as expected, although he should be pleased to have at least matched his best performance so far in a Grand Slam.
Federer's Davis Cup colleague Wawrinka matched him for efficiency and on the scoreboard. His identical three set victory ensured that the American Steve Johnson would go no further in the tournament.
The battle of the Frenchmen resulted in an epic five-set encounter, with the twelfth seed Simon lasting the pace the better against the unseeded Mahut. After taking the first set comfortably, the match seemed to have swung Mahut's way instead, as he snatched sets two and three on close tie-breaks. Simon fought back from potential elimination by claiming the next two sets though to take the victory 6-2 6-7 6-7 6-3 6-1.
On the women's side, Sharapova continued her quest to defend her title with a solid 6-3 6-4 victory over Sam Stosur. The Australian may have only been ranked at number 26 for the event, but as a former finalist back in 2010 clearly knows her way around the courts in Paris. The Russian number two seed was mainly in control of the outcome, although she did seem to be troubled by a bout of coughing during the match.
Dangerous Ivanovic #TennisIvanovic could yet be a threat to all of the major pretenders for the women's title. The winner in 2008 and former world number one from the same year, was a convincing winner over Donna Vekic in under an hour, 6-0 6-3. She was supported from the sidelines by her current boyfriend, the German World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger.