Federer out of Roland Garros

Triple champion Gustavo Kuerten crushed top seed and world number one Roger Federer with a stunning 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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Triple champion Gustavo Kuerten crushed top seed and world number one Roger Federer with a stunning 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory to move into the fourth round of the French Open today. The hugely popular Brazilian, seeded a lowly 28 after having two years of his career savaged by a hip injury, was carried along to his famous victory by a huge wave of support from a packed Philippe Chatrier Court. His win gave him a match-up against either Spain's 23rd seed Feliciano Lopez or South Korean lucky loser Lee Hyung-Taik for a place in the quarter-finals. "For me it's a great pleasure to come here and play," said Kuerten, the winner in 1997, 2000 and 2001. "I didn't expect to play because of my physical condition but this is a very special tournament for me. It makes me go over the limit and if it wasn't for this tournament I wouldn't be here." The stunning win ended Federer's hopes of adding the Roland Garros title to his Wimbledon and Australian crowns and it also overshadowed the relatively sedate progress of former champions Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati into the fourth round of the women's singles. "I tried but he didn't give me much of a chance," said a dejected Federer. "Usually I can control these kinds of matches but today that wasn't the case." Kuerten, who needed five sets to make it past the first round, dominated the match leaving the Swiss star scrambling around the court, hussled out of his normal elegant game. Even needing treatment on a thigh strain and problems with his contact lenses did not interrupt Kuerten's relentless march to victory and he eventually reached match point on his own serve and clinched the tie when a mishit Federer backhand failed to reach the net. For Federer it was another French flop as he has failed to make it past the quarter-finals here in six appearances. Meanwhile, second seed Serena Williams, the winner in 2002 and who only recently returned to the tour after an eight-month knee injury lay-off, brushed aside the challenge of Croatia's Silvija Talaja 6-0, 6-4 to set up a fourth round meeting with Japan's Shinobu Asagoe. "I had nine double faults in that match; normally, I don't hit nine in the whole tournament," said Williams. "I was in control up to the middle of the second set and then I got a little tight." Capriati, the 2001 champion and who missed the Australian Open this year because of a back injury, had a tougher time of it needing three sets to defeat Russian 25th seed Elena Bovina 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. (PTI)