No. 1 Federer to take on Starace in French Open

Jun 1, 2007 - 12:19 PM PARIS (Ticker) -- Roger Federer again takes center stage at the French Open.

The No. 1 player in the world plays his third-round match on Friday against unseeded Italian Potito Starace.

Federer had only minor trouble in his first two matches, winning both in the requisite three sets each. The 10-time Grand Slam champion defeated American Michael Russell, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4, in the opening round before dispatching Frenchman Thierry Ascione, 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (10-8) on Wednesday.

However, the all-time great has had his troubles here, never winning this tournament. His best finish last year was as runner-up to current two-time champion and No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal. In fact, Nadal had dropped Federer two straight years here, beating him in the 2005 semifinal, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Federer has had much less trouble with Starace, beating him twice on clay, including last year in Rome.

Fourth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko also is in action Friday, taking on unseeded Michael Llodra of France. The Russian, who reached the semifinals here in 2005, has made the quarterfinals in four of his last five Grand Slam tournaments.

Possibly the most entertaining match of the day could be unseeded Frenchmen Gael Monfils vs. Argentine David Nalbandian. Monfils electrified his countrymen here last year by reaching the round of 16, while Nalbandian has reached the quarterfinals in nine Grand Slams.

Monfils is coming off an upset win over No. 18 Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.

Other men's seeds in action today are No. 7 Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia and No. 9 Tommy Robredo of Spain.

In early action on Friday, Russia's Igor Andreev defeat Chile's Nicolas Massu 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

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