Federer sails into last eight as Wawrinka feels the breeze

You would expect nothing other than impeccable timing from a Swiss and Roger Federer judged his passage into the French Open quarter-finals to perfection yesterday. With the latest drops of rain about to fall on another grey and chilly day in Paris, the world No 1 completed an emphatic 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 over his fellow countryman, Stanislas Wawrinka.

Federer was the first man through the door to the last 16 and became the first to reach the last eight, in which he will face Robin Soderling, the man he beat in last year's final. In his first four matches here the defending champion has yet to drop a set.

If the draw was kind to Federer in the first three rounds – none of his opponents were ranked in the world's top 60 – his friend and Davis Cup team- mate promised a significantly tougher test. Wawrinka, the world No 24, prefers clay to any other surface and beat Federer on terre battue in Monte Carlo last year.

The two men combined forces to win the Olympic doubles title two years ago, when Wawrinka was arguably the more effective player. Federer acknowledged as much in their bizarre celebration routine in Beijing, when Wawrinka lay on the floor as the world No 1, acknowledging his partner's red-hot form, pretended to warm his hands.

Nevertheless, Federer had dropped only four games in beating Wawrinka in Madrid earlier this month and laid down an early marker here when he broke serve in the third game. Another break sealed the first set.

Wawrinka stole the initiative in the second by breaking to 15 in the opening game, but Federer levelled at 4-4 and the set went to a tie-break. Wawrinka led by a mini-break but failed to hold on to his advantage. When Federer converted his first set point Wawrinka repeatedly smashed his racket in frustration, wishing, no doubt, that he had been able to strike the ball as effectively. There were few problems in the third set for Federer, who broke twice before serving out for victory after an hour and 56 minutes.

"It changes a lot, playing a good friend like Stan," Federer said. "Obviously we've spent a lot of time together away from the tennis courts and the practice courts, so it makes it a bit harder. But at the same time, I think about every point I play against him and I'm still able to play good tennis and put in a good performance."

The world No 1 said a swirling wind had made conditions difficult. "It wasn't the same breeze all the time," he said. "It changed directions at times. I couldn't pick which side was better to play from, especially when the wind comes from the side. You have maybe one side where the slice-serve works better, and on the other you have to work through the wind."

He added: "The second set obviously killed it for him. He maybe didn't believe as much that he could beat me any more. I was able to play better as the match went on."

Soderling was just as impressive in his 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Marin Cilic. Last year's beaten finalist had too much power for the Croat with his pounding ground strokes and big serves. Cilic, the world No 12, reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open earlier this year, though his form has dipped in recent months.

On this day 12 months ago Soderling produced one of the biggest shocks in the history of tennis with his victory over Rafael Nadal, who was previously unbeaten in 31 matches at Roland Garros. The result turned the Swede from an unheralded journeyman into a contender for major honours and he is clearly unfazed by the challenge of living up to his exploits of 12 months ago.

Federer has never lost to Soderling but acknowledged the Swede's progress. "Because of the improvements he's made, he's an opponent not to underestimate," Federer said. "He beat incredible players on the way to make the finals here last year, so clay seems to have become his surface of preference."

The Swiss was asked how he handled hard-hitting opponents like Soderling. "I want to try to get him to move," Federer said. "Sometimes that's not in your control. If they play aggressively off the return and serve well, then you play more like a hard-court match, which I don't mind doing. Maybe that's why I'm good on many surfaces, because I can adapt to any sort of opponent. But you want to try to get those guys moving, give them different types of balls, keep them low maybe with the slice, because they have to bend more than little guys."

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the last French player of either sex in singles competition, retired injured after losing the first set to Mikhail Youzhny. The world No 10 received treatment to his leg when 5-2 down and threw in the towel when the Russian won the following game. After speaking to the umpire Tsonga threw his racket on to his chair and then shook Youzhny's hand. The world No 14 will next face the winner of last night's final match between Andy Murray and the Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych.

British interest in the doubles ended when Colin Fleming and Ken Skupski were beaten 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 by Wesley Moodie and Dick Norman. However, both Britons in the boys' tournament had good victories. Ashley Hewitt beat the No 8 seed, Austria's Dominic Thiem, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, while Oliver Golding beat France's Mick Lescure 7-6, 6-4.

Arts and Entertainment
Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
musicYes, that would be Ed Sheeran, according to the BBC
Sport
Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast
Sport
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?