Paris: Roger Federer, emboldened by not dropping a set at the French Open, must summon more powers of persuasion to win over the Roland Garros crowd if he beats home hope Gael Monfils in the quarter-finals later Tuesday.
Neutrals are desperate to see third seed Federer do battle with man-of-the-moment Novak Djokovic in the last four but most Parisians will be willing Monfils on when he takes to the courts for the third straight day.
The ninth seed overcame David Ferrer in their delayed match Monday and now faces the Swiss, who beat the Frenchman in the 2008 semis and 2009 quarters here before Monfils finally defeated Federer last year in the Paris Masters at Bercy.
Djokovic, on a 41-match winning streak this year, was due to play Fabio Fognini but the Italian has pulled out with injury which means the Serb sails straight into the last four.
Andy Murray is still a long way from that point but has given himself a fighting chance of winning his last-16 clash against Viktor Troicki having come back from two sets down to draw level before bad light suspended play Monday.
The British fourth seed, carrying an ankle injury, is first up on Court Suzanne Lenglen before 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova takes on Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli in their quarter-final.
Francesca Schiavone, with her chances of defending her shock title from last year increasing, will hope to warm up the crowd against Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova before the main event begins on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Men's champion Rafa Nadal will watch the duel between Monfils and old nemesis Federer with interest having improved again on his slow start to the tournament during Monday's straight sets win over Ivan Ljubicic.
"I am playing a few good points but after I have a few bad points," Nadal said after setting up a last-eight clash with Robin Soderling Wednesday, a repeat of last year's final.
"I have to play all the match with a regular level. That's the biggest issue for the last final part of the tournament for me."
First Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2011, 08:35