Federer feeling the pressure in Paris
Roger Federer admits the pressure of winning a first French Open title is weighing on his mind.
The Swiss star beat Frenchman Gael Monfils in straight sets yesterday to move into the semi-finals at Roland Garros, where he will meet fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro.
Such is the clamour for Federer, the second seed, to clinch the one grand-slam crown missing on his CV that he revealed he is being stopped at traffic lights by fans wishing him good luck.
The crowds at Roland Garros are also pulling for him, to such an extent that you could not tell who the French player was during his match with Monfils on Philippe Chatrier court.
But Federer, who has seen main rivals Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic dumped out early, admits it is not just a question of external pressure as he closes in on greatness.
"We're all nervous at this stage - I felt it in the warm-up. I was tired, I was nervous and I didn't really feel good," the 27-year-old said after his convincing win over Monfils.
"The whole story of Nadal losing, Murray losing, Djokovic losing, the draw opening up a little bit; it obviously plays with your mind.
"But it doesn't matter if I'm zero nervous or 100 per cent nervous. I know I'll always play a decent match in the quarter-finals of a grand slam."
He did just that, easing past 11th seed Monfils to reach his 20th consecutive grand-slam semi-final.
It was a much-improved performance compared to his fourth-round display against Tommy Haas, when he was forced to come from two sets down to squeeze into the last eight.
"For the first time, I could play a bit more relaxed," he added.
"I was able to hit through the ball more. Everything just started to click."
Argentina's Del Potro was a 6-3 6-4 6-2 winner over 16th seed Tommy Robredo in yesterday's other quarter-final.
Robin Soderling meets Fernando Gonzalez in the semi-final from the top half of the draw.
The women's semi-finals take place today, with top seed and world number one Dinara Safina coming up against 20th seed Dominika Cibulkova and seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova clashing with Sam Stosur, the 30th seed.
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
Alexi Sanchez: Streetwise Arsenal forward is the real deal, says Arsene Wenger
Angel Di Maria: In Argentina if you lost a derby you would hide for weeks, says the Manchester United winger
Arsenal vs Burnley: Jack Wilshere ruled out with knee injury as Arsene Wenger reveals further injury concerns with just three fit defenders
Tim Sherwood column: Southampton are succeeding because they have an identity
Enner Valencia interview: The striker takes whirlwind way to West Ham
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 4 Paul Hollywood: Police asked if I wanted them to arrest Mary Berry for vandalism after she 'defaced' my car
- 5 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything