- POSTED: 30 May 2014 19:59
Latvian wild child Ernests Gulbis booked a French Open fourth round spot on Friday and a possible date with Roger Federer, the man he blasted as "boring" at Roland Garros last year.
PARIS: Latvian wild child Ernests Gulbis booked a French Open fourth round spot on Friday and a possible date with Roger Federer, the man he blasted as "boring" at Roland Garros last year.
Gulbis, the 18th seed, won a fractious third round clash against Czech veteran Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in the Court One bullring to make the last 16 for the first time since he reached the quarter-finals in 2008.
He fired 19 aces and 45 winners past the 35-year-old Stepanek and will next tackle fourth seeded Federer should the 2009 champion get past Russia's Dmitry Tursunov.
Twelve months ago, Gulbis caused controversy when he described the sport's big four of Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray as boring.
He especially pointed the finger at Federer, claiming that post-match interviews were becoming so polite and inoffensive that the fire in the belly of the sport was being doused.
"I respect Roger, Rafa, Novak and Murray but, for me, all four of them are boring players. Their interviews are boring. Honestly, they are c---," said Gulbis.
"It is Federer who started this fashion. He has a superb image of the perfect Swiss gentleman. I respect Federer but I don't like it that young players try to imitate him.
"When I hear them answer like Roger, I am terrified by phrases like, 'I had a little bit more success at certain moments and that is how I won'."
Gulbis and Federer last met in Rome in 2010, three years before the 25-year-old Latvian unleashed his Paris tirade.
Federer, the 17-time Grand Slam title winner, takes a 4-0 lead over Russian 31st seed Tursunov into their third round clash.
The 32-year-old Federer is contesting his 58th straight Grand Slam and won his 60th career match at Roland Garros in the last round against Argentine qualifier Diego Schwartzman.
Tursunov, 31, is bidding to reach the fourth round for the first time.
Second seed and 2012 runner-up Novak Djokovic has the chance to take his career record over Croatia'a Marin Cilic to 9-0 in his third round match.
The two men have never met on clay.
Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych, a semi-finalist in 2010, plays Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut.
John Isner, the 10th seed and one of three American men left in the draw, tackles veteran Spaniard Tommy Robredo who made the last-eight in 2013.
Eighth seed Milos Raonic bids to become the first Canadian in history to make the fourth round in Paris.
He faces Frenchman Gilles Simon who he beat on clay in Portugal last month.