Roger Federer's attempt to win his second French Open title continued on Sunday, as he defeated No. 15 Gilles Simon 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals. He also reached a major career milestone in the process, winning his 900th match.
It was a match in three acts. Federer dominated the first set but appeared to tweak his ankle and struggled in the next two as Simon took over. It looked as though an upset was in the works.
Federer rallied, though, winning the fourth set easily before taking the fifth. It wasn't Federer's strongest performance, as his 56 unforced errors eclipsed Simon's 47, but he dug deep and found a way to reach a career milestone along the way.
With his historic 900th win, Fed becomes just the ninth man in history to reach that milestone. According to the Agence France-Presse (via NDTV Sports), only Jimmy Connors (1,156), Ivan Lendl (1,068) and Guillermo Vilas (940) have won more.
All in a day's work for a man who seems to reach another career milestone every tournament.
This was Federer's fourth straight victory over Simon (in six total matches), including his second on clay this season. Simon last beat Federer in 2008.
He'll now face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals. Federer is 9-3 all-time against Tsonga, so he'll be the prohibitive favorite. It's Federer's 36th straight Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Roger Federer will win the 2013 French Open.
While Federer's path to the final is hardly assured—or without stiff competition, for that matter—he doesn't have to worry about a semifinal meeting with either Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal, who are on the top portion of the draw.
Plus, his stiffest potential competition in the semifinals would be against No. 4 David Ferrer. All Federer has done against him in his career is go 14-0, including five wins on clay.
In other words, anything less than a finals appearance would be a major disappointment for Fed-Ex.