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Federer Sees Off Mahut, Faces Lucky Loser Next

Paris, France

Federer© AFP/Getty ImagesRoger Federer reaches the Roland Garros fourth round for the 10th time.

World No. 3 Roger Federer overcame tenacious Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 to move into the Round of 16 on Friday at Roland Garros.

"I thought he did well. Struggled a little bit, but overall obviously I'm happy I came through," said the 30-year-old Swiss.

Federer dropped a set to Mahut for the first time in four meetings, as the Frenchman capitalised on his first break point opportunity to clinch the second set. He once again came under pressure in the fourth, with Mahut recovering a break of serve in the eighth game, but Federer broke again for a 6-5 lead before serving out the match.

The 2009 champion advances to the Roland Garros fourth round for the 10th time in 14 appearances. He notched his 235th match win in Grand Slam action, two days after eclipsing Jimmy Connors' Open Era mark.

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Federer will next play 21-year-old Belgian David Goffin, who defeated Poland’s Lukasz Kubot 7-6(4), 7-5, 6-1 to become just the seventh lucky loser - and first since countryman Dick Norman in 1995 at Wimbledon - to reach the Round of 16 at a major.

"I've been watching Roger playing on telly for so many years," said Goffin. "Roger has always been my favourite. He has perfect tennis, perfect technique, and I like the man. From a human standpoint, he is a great person, whether on the court or outside the court. So I expect a very difficult match on Sunday. I don't know exactly how I should prepare for this match, but I'll try and have fun."

Goffin had been elevated into the main draw when Frenchman Gael Monfils withdrew with a knee injury, and impressed on his Grand Slam debut with five-sets wins over Radek Stepanek and Arnaud Clement in the first two rounds - also his first two tour-level wins on clay.

"I'm feeling good, really good," he said. "First time in the main draw of a Grand Slam. I had three matches. I had nothing to lose. I wasn't the favourite, but I played my best tennis. Today it was three sets, three not perfect sets, but I was playing really good today. I'm really happy to win."

Federer had a chance to see Goffin's game, after watching him play Clement in the French veteran's last match at Roland Garros. "It's a nice game, smooth ball striker and talented, obviously," he said. "Otherwise he wouldn't be coming that far in this tournament. Today he had a convincing tournament, and that's exactly what he needed coming into the next round."

Prior to this week, the Belgian had won consecutive matches on the ATP World Tour just once, reaching the Chennai quarter-finals in January (l. To Tipsarevic). Goffin, who came to Paris two spots back of his career-high No. 107 ranking, is projected to move into the Top 70 by reaching the fourth round.

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