Roger Federer stayed on course for the year-end No.1 battle with Novak Djokovic after rallying past Jeremy Chardy to advance to the BNP Paribas Masters round of 16 in Paris, as Andy Murray moved closer to qualifying for tennis World Tour Finals.
Federer, the World No.2 from Switzerland missed two match points in the second set but eventually wrapped up a 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 6-4 win, with two aces against the local favourite in the deciding game Wednesday, reported Xinhua.
With 1,000 points up for grabs this week in Paris, Federer, who came into the 2,884,675 Euros tournament with victories in Basel and Shanghai, is trying to keep up the heat on the top-ranked, Serbian Djokovic.
“I was expecting it to be difficult,” said the 17-time Grand Slam champion at a post-match press conference.
“Chardy has made it hard for me in the past. I thought it could be tough, and it was. I could have lost the first set, I could have won the second, but it went the other way. So I think as the match went longer, the better I actually started to play and created more opportunities,” he added.
Federer will vie for a quarter-final slot against French qualifier Lucas Pouille, who upset the 16th seed Fabio Fognini of Italy, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (7).
Earlier Wednesday, World No.8 Briton Andy Murray beat another Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-3, 6-4 to move one victory away from qualifying for the World Tour Finals in London starting Nov 9.
The 27-year-old Scot took just one hour and 11 minutes to secure victory and needs to just reach the quarter-finals here to secure a berth to London.
“I served very well in the first set. There were no long rallies at all in the first set,” said Murray after the match.
He next plays the ninth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, who destroyed Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas 6-0, 6-3. Dimitrov also has a chance to qualify for the season-ending tournament.
Seventh seed Milos Raonic of Canada also kept his London hopes alive with a 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (4) win over American qualifier Jack Sock, and so did fourth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer who beat Belgian David Goffin 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
Other top seeds to join Murray and Federer in the third round were Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, who beat Austrian Dominic Thiem, and this year’s U.S. Open runner-up, Kei Nishikori, who proved too strong for Spain’s Tommy Robredo.