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Roland Garros Friday Diary: Federer From Poster Boy To Fourth-Round Foe

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Goffin© Getty ImagesDavid Goffin will play his idol, Roger Federer, next.

ATPWorldTour.com takes a look at the news and talking points at Roland Garros on Friday.

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Baby Faced Assassin Ready For Big Day
World No. 109 David Goffin will play the biggest match of his life against his idol, 2009 champion Roger Federer, in the Roland Garros fourth round Sunday after he became the first lucky loser to reach the Last 16 of a Grand Slam championship since fellow Belgian Dick Norman at Wimbledon in 1995.

"Now I'm playing against Roger, and I can't believe it," said the 21 year old from Liege. "When I was young I had a lot of pictures in my bedroom of him."

Upon learning that he was Goffin's idol, Federer said with a laugh, "Not the first time it happens. It's strange; I tell you that. It's everything you can imagine. I'm happy to hear it, though."

Goffin, who cites "Impossible is nothing" as his favourite quote, made his Grand Slam main draw debut with five-sets wins over Radek Stepanek and Arnaud Clement before defeating Lukasz Kubot of Poland 7-6(4), 7-5, 6-1 on Friday evening.

"I think I had the level to play in the main draw, but now I won three matches and I can't believe it," he admitted. Just last year, in an interview with his racquet sponsor, "La Goff" had shared, "I hope to be at the top of the sport competing for Grand Slams. I have a lot of work to do but that is where I would like to see myself in five years."

Goffin, who is playing in his eighth tour-level event, achieved his best result at the Aircel Chennai Open in January, when he advanced to the quarter-finals (l. to Tipsarevic). He was taught to play tennis by his father, Michel, who is a tennis coach at the Barchon Club in Liege. He is now coached Reginald Willems and trains with the Belgian Tennis Federation in Mons.

He is projected to rise to around No. 68 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings as a result of his performances so far in the French capital.

Divided Loyalties In Federer Vs. Mahut
Roger Federer is revered worldwide, but one of his many fans was the wife of his third round opponent, Nicolas Mahut. The Frenchman explained before the match, "I have a problem because my wife is a fan of Roger. My whole family is. So I will need to make sure they will be in the right players' box watching the match." Mahut won his first set in four meetings with Federer, but lost to the 2009 champion 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Youzhny's Mixed Bag
World No. 30 Mikhail Youzhny, who plays sixth seed David Ferrer on Saturday, told RolandGarros.com he'd like to star in an action film with Novak Djokovic and he'd go fishing with Nikolay Davydenko. "He knows how to find the good spots. I don’t know the first thing about fishing." The Russian also admitted he'd be in a band with the Bryan brothers. "I don’t know if they know who I am, but they’re really talented."

Djokovic Productions
Novak Djokovic played the role of casting director in this video interview at Roland Garros. He selected Roger Federer to play the good looking hero in his movie, and then went on to cast Tomas Berdych as the sidekick, Bernard Tomic as the genius child and, after some hesitation, Juan Martin del Potro as the scary bad guy. "I hope he doesn't mind," Djokovic said of his last pick. "I like you, but it's just a movie."

Over 30, Not Over The Hill
In this year's singles draw, 37 men aged 30 or over played first-round matches. Ten years ago, there were 11. Julien Benneteau, who broke his right elbow in April, told The New York Times, "Last Thursday, my coach told me I had one chance in five to win this match. That took off a lot of pressure." Former World No. 3 and 34-year-old Tommy Haas said, "It’s really just a number. It’s really just about how much fun and effort I want to put into it and how my body is doing, really." The German added, "No. 1, I really enjoy playing the game."

Match Of The Day
Kevin Anderson's hopes of reaching the round of 16 at a major for the first time ended at the hands of Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych in a five-set match, just eight minutes short of four hours. Berdych won 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4. The Johannesburg native certainly worked overtime in his three matches. He played 14 sets and spent near 11 hours on court in three matches.In comparison, last year Federer needed just nine hours and 22 minutes to reach the semi-finals.
 

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