Commentary

Don't forget about Federer's streaks

Originally Published: May 30, 2011
By Kamakshi Tandon | Special to ESPN.com

PARIS -- Roger Federer plays his record 28th straight Grand Slam quarterfinal Tuesday, facing home favorite Gael Monfils. The Frenchman is the most athletic and acrobatic player on the men's tour and draws a lot of inspiration from the local crowds. But he is undisciplined and tends to stay too far behind the baseline. He is coming in without a day's rest, because his five-set win against David Ferrer in the previous round was suspended for darkness and finished Monday.

Federer has the most beautiful stroke on the tour and has yet to be pushed in this tournament. But he will need to be focused and clean to avoid getting sucked into Monfils' antics. The crowd will be partisan but not over the top, because Federer is also beloved in France. The last time they played was also in front of a roaring French stadium, with Monfils sneaking out a third-set tiebreaker in the Paris Masters. This latest meeting should be an entertaining encounter, too.

Should Federer win, he'll face Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. The Serb will be going for his record-tying 42nd straight win since the beginning of the year, and would thus be within two of the all-time record of 46 in a row.

The most impressive half-season of all time versus the most impressive Grand Slam career of all time? Here's a look at their notable streaks:

Novak Djokovic's season streak
• 43 matches in a row (record: 46, Guillermo Vilas)
• 41 wins to start year (record: 42, John McEnroe)
• 22 straight Masters wins (previous record: 15, Nadal)
• 10 wins over top-10 opponents
• 9 bagel sets won

Roger Federer's Grand Slam streaks
• 46 Grand Slams in a row (record: 56, Wayne Ferreira)
• 28 Grand Slam quarterfinals in a row (previous record: 27, Jimmy Connors)
• 23 Grand Slam semifinals in a row -- not active (previous record: 11, Ivan Lendl)

Djokovic, who drew a walkover from Fabio Fognini, has four days off to ponder his numbers. Federer, meanwhile, returns to the court to try to add to his.

"Twenty-eight quarterfinals in a row, that's great, but that's another opportunity for me to go one step further," he said. "That's why I'm very proud I accomplished that, and I hope I can go one step further than last year, and then we'll see."

Monfils will be thinking back to his heroic victory the previous time they played.

"It does matter for me, knowing I managed to beat him here in Paris," he said. "Obviously it's going to be favorable because it's going to help me relax more, but then each match is different."

The Frenchman appeared to twist his ankle during the first day of the match against Ferrer but chased down balls during 30-stroke rallies Monday and is prepared to battle.

"I'm a bit stiff [physically]. I need to relax. But I'll be on the court tomorrow, and I'll fight and we'll see," he said. "His serve is very difficult to read, so I'll focus on returning very well and then have as many first serves as possible. Then baseline, I'll see if he gives me time to focus on the baseline game."

Kamakshi Tandon is a freelance tennis writer for ESPN.com.