PARIS (AFP) – Roger Federer breezed into the third round of the French Open for the 15th time on Wednesday by seeing off German lucky loser Oscar Otte, while 11-time champion Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas also progressed.
The 37-year-old Federer held off a persistent world number 144 Otte, saving all four break points he faced in a 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Next up for the 20-time Grand Slam title winner is a clash with Norway’s Casper Ruud who put out Italian 29th seed Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 7-5, 6-3.
“The Grand Slams are incredible. You can meet a player who qualified who (you) have not heard of before,” said Federer, who last played at Roland Garros in 2015.
“It was difficult, he really played a great match.”
Federer’s only French Open trophy came in 2009, and 10 years on he faces a daunting task to grab a second, potentially needing to beat Tsitsipas, Nadal and world number one Novak Djokovic in order to come out on top.
He was on his game against Otte, though, breaking once in each set and serving strongly.
Nadal continued the strong start to his bid for a record-extending 12th title with a comfortable victory over German qualifier Yannick Maden.
The 32-year-old Nadal was in near total control against world number 114 Maden bar some nervy moments in the third set, winning 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
The 17-time major champion will play Belgian 27th seed David Goffin in the last 32.
“He (Maden) is a good player. He had already won four matches so was full of confidence,” said Nadal, whose Roland Garros win-loss record now reads an incredible 88-2.
“For me it was an important victory.”
The Spaniard wasted little time in wrapping up the first two sets on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Maden may have briefly allowed himself to dream of an outrageous upset when he twice broke to level at 3-3 and then 4-4 in the third set, but Nadal put him back in his place with two quick games to seal victory.
Nadal appears to be hitting form at just the right time, after following three consecutive semi-final defeats on clay with the Italian Open title before arriving in Paris.
He finished the match with 43 winners against just 23 unforced errors.