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Tennis: Federer comes back to beat Simon at French Open

Published June 2, 2013 4:00 pm

Tennis • Swiss great overcomes two-set deficit to reach quarterfinals.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Paris • Chasing a shot, Roger Federer caught his right shoe in the French Open's red clay, twisting that foot awkwardly and tumbling to the ground.

Soon enough, he was in a real rut, in danger of his earliest exit from a Grand Slam tournament in nine years.

Federer regrouped and restored order eventually, coming back from a two-sets-to-one deficit to beat 15th-seeded Gilles Simon of France 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 Sunday in the fourth round to reach his 36th consecutive major quarterfinal.

"I didn't hurt myself or anything," Federer said. "But maybe I did lose that touch of confidence for a little bit, and then I was out of the match there for a bit."

During a rare stretch of mid-match mediocrity from the owner of a record 17 Grand Slam championships — the 2009 French Open trophy is part of his collection — Federer lost 10 of 13 games, including the one in which he fell.

"I didn't give him time," said Simon, a one-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist. "I managed to start moving him around a bit."

Federer's turnaround was not the biggest of the day. Not even close. That distinction belonged to 32nd-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain, who is specializing in comebacks: He is the first man in 86 years to win three Grand Slam matches in a row after dropping the first two sets (France's Henri Cochet pulled that off at Wimbledon in 1927).

Robredo did it in the second round Wednesday. He did it in the third round Friday. And then he did it in the fourth round Sunday, defeating No. 11 Nicolas Almagro 6-7 (5), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Robredo trailed 4-1 in the third set, 4-2 in the fourth and 2-0 in the fifth.

"Nobody dreams of doing such things," said Robredo, who dropped to his knees, leaned forward and wept after winning.

And what about the woman who is everyone's pick to win the title, No. 1 Serena Williams? The 15-time major champion has been nearly flawless, losing a total of 10 games through four matches. She beat No. 15 Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-3 to extend her winning streak to 28 and set up a quarterfinal against Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2009 champion who is unseeded this year and defeated No. 8 Angelique Kerber 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.