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Federer proves he is the man for a crisis

Agencies | Updated: 2013-06-03 10:23

Federer proves he is the man for a crisis

Roger Federer of Switzerland embraces Gilles Simon (R) of France after winning their men's singles match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, June 2, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

PATIS - Second seed Roger Federer produced a thrilling riposte to Gilles Simon's gallant attempt to knock him out of the French Open on Sunday to claim a 6-1 4-6 2-6 6-2 6-3 victory in front of a raucous late-evening crowd on Philippe Chatrier Court.

Averting a mounting crisis in the middle of a spectacular fourth-round match, Federer won the last two sets to reach his 36th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal and keep alive his hopes of a second title at Roland Garros.

When 15th seed Simon, roared on by chants of "Gillou", won the third set, Federer looked to be in careering towards the exit door but the 17-times Grand Slam champion hit back with every weapon in his arsenal to set up a quarterfinal with another French hope, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

It was nerve-racking until the end, however, with Federer missing an easy volley when serving for the match at 5-3 to offer Simon hope of a late escape.

Federer then wasted his first match point with an anxious forehand swiped into the net but when a second opportunity came his way Simon pushed a backhand into the tramlines.

"It was beautiful, it's always special to play matches like that," 2009 champion and firm Paris favorite Federer said at courtside. "You always remember matches like this."

The victory was 31-year-old Federer's 58th at the French Open, making him joint leader with Guillermo Vilas and Nicola Pietrangeli on the all-time list of matches won here.

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