Quantcast
Latest Stories

Federer to face ‘lucky loser’ who keeps winning

By

Roger Federer of Switzerland wipes his forehead after his third round match against Nicolas Mahut of France at the French Open tennis tournament in Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Friday June 1, 2012. Federer won in four sets 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

PARIS  — If it seems Roger Federer breaks one record or another every time he wins a match, that’s because he does these days.

Then again, good as Federer is, he can’t top this: His next opponent at the French Open, Belgium’s David Goffin, is unbeaten in Grand Slam main-draw matches. (OK, so the kid’s only 3-0, but still.)

Yes, before Federer can take on Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros this year, he’ll need to defeat Goffin, the first “lucky loser” — a player beaten in qualifying who sneaks into the field via someone’s withdrawal — to reach the fourth round at any Grand Slam tournament in 17 years, and only the seventh to make it that far.

“Now I’m playing against Roger,” the 109th-ranked Goffin said after beating Lukasz Kubot of Poland 7-6 (4), 7-5, 6-1 on Friday, “and I can’t believe it.”

A fresh-faced 21-year-old whose voice was barely a whisper and whose hands fidgeted during an extended interview session with reporters, the slender, 1.80-meter (5-foot-11) Goffin matter-of-factly discussed displaying photos and posters of 16-time Grand Slam champion Federer in his bedroom as a child.

“Since I was little, I’ve watched Roger play on TV. To me, he plays almost perfect tennis. His technique is perfect. I also like him at the human level; he’s a very good person on and off the court,” said Goffin, who was able to make his Grand Slam debut because Gael Monfils pulled out with a knee injury. “I expect a very tough match on Sunday, of course. I don’t really know how I’ll prepare for it, but I’ll try to have fun.”

Informed that his next opponent is an unabashed fan, Federer grinned and replied, “Not the first time it happens.”

Probably so. After all, the 30-year-old Federer has been winning major titles since 2003, when Goffin was 12. He’s been winning Grand Slam matches since 2000, and Friday’s 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory over Nicolas Mahut was Federer’s 235th, adding to his Open era record.

Federer happened to catch a bit of Goffin’s second-round matchup against Arnaud Clement, the 2001 Australian Open runner-up who said this would be his final French Open.

The condensed scouting report?

“Nice game. Smooth ball-striker. And talented, obviously,” Federer said. “Otherwise, he wouldn’t be coming that far in this tournament.”

That match against Clement went five sets, as did Goffin’s first-round victory over 23rd-seeded Radek Stepanek — the only five-setters of his career. Against Kubot at intimate, 1,559-seat Court 7, Goffin was raucously cheered by flag-waving, chorus-singing supporters who made the short trip from Belgium.

“It gave me wings,” Goffin said. “I felt as if I was playing at home.”

Coincidentally, the last “lucky loser” to make it this far at a major tournament was also Belgian, Dick Norman, who did it at Wimbledon in 1995.

Now comes by far the toughest test of Goffin’s young career.

Or, looked at another way, a “bonus,” as he put it: the thrill of standing across the net from his favorite player and seeing how he stacks up.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.


Tags: David Goffin , French Open tennis tournament , Roger Federer , Roland Garros stadium



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement

News

  • Saudi Arabia reports 3 more deaths from MERS virus
  • Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  • Why are Americans obsessed with missing plane?
  • Napoles to have surgery on Tuesday – report
  • Mayor’s assassination linked to black sand mining controversy
  • Sports

  • PBA D-League: Waves edge skidding Superchargers
  • Ilad’s last-second basket lifts Gems over Bakers
  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Arrest warrants out vs. Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee, et al over serious illegal detention
  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Business

  • Century Pacific Food sets IPO price at P13.75 per share
  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged not to panic amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • Marketplace