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Federer books pre-quarterfinal berth, to take on Berrettini

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Paris, June 6 (IANS) Former World No. 1, Switzerland’s Roger Federer came through a nerve-wracking third-round match against 27-year-old German Dominik Koepfer 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 7-5 to seal a spot in the French Open pre-quarterfinals.

In the late-evening match on Saturday, which went past midnight, saw the eighth seed and winner of 20 singles Grand Slam titles, stage a remarkable recovery from 2-4 down in the third set to finally winning the contest in three hours and 39 minutes.

Federer advanced to the Round of 16 at a Grand Slam for the 68th time to extend his all-time record for most Round-of-16 appearances at the Grand Slams.

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World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is second with 54 Round-of-16 appearances, while 13-time French Open champion, Spain’s Rafael Nadal is third with 50 appearances.

Federer will next face ninth seed Matteo Berrettini in the pre-quarterfinals after the Italian got the better of South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the last-16 in Paris for the first time.

This is the third time in the past week that the 39-year-old Federer has been tested, with his games against Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin and Croatia’s Marin Cilic also extremely challenging.

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“I wasn’t sure after the second set how much was left in the tank, so it was a good battle until then,” Federer said.

“I thought (this win)] was very important for me. I clearly hadn’t practiced three hours (and) 35 (minutes), because that’s obviously always pushing it. I pushed as much as I could, as we thought reasonable. But this today was I think a huge step forward for the team, and for all of us,” Federer told atptour.com after the match.

–IANS

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