Federer survives tough test

Roger Federer struggled but survived to make the fourth round of the French Open.

The 17-time grand slam champion found the going tough against Russian 31st seed Dmitry Tursunov and needed more than three hours to grind out a 7-5 6-7 (7/9) 6-2 6-4 victory.

Federer admitted after facing Diego Sebastian Schwartzman in the second round he had not felt relaxed but put that down to an unknown opponent.

That was not the case with Tursunov, who Federer had beaten in all four of their previous meetings, although they did have a tight tussle in Indian Wells in March.

The Russian is a talented ball-striker and matched Federer throughout the first set until the Swiss took his chance in the final game.

It looked like the second set would go exactly the same way when Tursunov slipped to 0-40 at 5-6 but this time he saved all three set points.

Federer had another in the tie-break but it was Tursunov who took his second opportunity with a searing forehand winner down the line.

Federer made the perfect start to the third set with a break in the opening game, and it became clear all was not well with Tursunov when he headed off court for lengthy treatment from the trainer after the third game.

But, although he wrapped up the third set relatively quickly, Federer continued to make heavy weather of the victory, finally taking just the fourth of 21 break points in the seventh game of the decider.

It gave Federer yet another piece of tennis history, the 32-year-old becoming the first man to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros for a 12th time.

Next he faces what is sure to be a highly-anticipated clash against Latvian crowd pleaser Ernests Gulbis, who is finally starting to live up to his talent.