PARIS (Reuters) - Roger Federer matched John McEnroe’s record streak of 11 straight-set wins in grand slam matches by beating Mikhail Youzhny 7-6 6-4 6-4 on Sunday to reach the French Open quarter-finals.
World number one Federer, whose run dates back to the first round of this year’s Australian Open, equals the best mark in the Open era set by McEnroe in 1984 from the second round at Wimbledon through to the U.S. Open quarter-finals.
Top seed Federer, chasing victory in the only grand slam tournament to elude him so far, turned on the style after a sluggish start to extend to 10-0 his perfect record against Russia’s Youzhny, seeded 13th here.
The 25-year-old Swiss, bidding to become the third man after Don Budge and Rod Laver to hold all four grand slam titles at the same time, next meets Spaniard Tommy Robredo, seeded ninth.
“He’s an excellent player, I knew that,” Federer said of Youzhny, who kept fighting, saving two match points before bowing out.
“He’s dangerous on every surface, he moves well, and I knew I had to be careful. He challenged me at first and I had to stay calm and react, which I did. I’m pleased with my match.”
Youzhny underlined his determination by breaking Federer straight away and matching his prestigious opponent throughout a tight first set.
Federer broke back to level the set at 3-3 and both players held serve until a tiebreak, which Youzhny lost 7-3, firing a backhand long on set point.
The Swiss, who had made uncharacteristic errors in the first set, stepped up a gear in the second, capturing Youzhny’s serve early on and staying on top until wrapping it up.
The pair had traded early breaks in the third set when Federer managed the telling one in the seventh game courtesy of an unforced error from Youzhny.
Federer then served for the match, sealing victory with a service winner on the third match point after two hours and 25 minutes.