I found proof from this 2004 match. It would be good if he was more gracious in defeat these days and admitted when his misfiring game had a lot to do with the opponent. I highlighted the most interesting parts. FRENCH OPEN TENNIS : Despite hip pain, Kuerten glides on PARIS: It has become one of the sounds of spring in Paris, and it has nothing to do with the traditional sounds of spring in Paris: "Goooo-ga! Goooo-ga!" They chanted Gustavo Kuerten's nickname, Guga, at Roland Garros in 1997, when he emerged from deep background to win the title with a ranking of 66. They chanted it again in 2000 and 2001 when he solidified his reputation and résumé with two more French Open victories. On Saturday afternoon, on his favorite court, they chanted it just as loudly as he outmaneuvered and outclassed the world's No. 1 player, Roger Federer, to win, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. "It's lovely," Kuerten said of the cheers. "It's amazing how the connection is growing between me and the public, going out there." Kuerten is still a long way from another title. For now, he is only into the second week and the fourth round, and there are many younger, healthier Spaniards, Russians and Argentines still blocking his path. But the elastic Kuerten, whose ranking has slipped to No. 30 from No. 1 in 2001, was true to his legacy against Federer, generating great enthusiasm and great depth from the baseline. Perhaps his neatest trick was making the usually silken Federer look consistently awkward as he stumbled changing directions and hit soft, imprecise chip backhands and wild, off-balance forehands. "I think my game today had a lot to do with his game," Federer said. "Obviously, usually, I can control these kind of matches, but today I couldn't. That's a credit to him. I'm not going to start saying my backhand, forehand or footwork was bad. We all know it wasn't the best, but that's got something to do with my opponent today." It has been a week full of surprises at Roland Garros, but this was not a true upset. Yes, Federer won the prestigious Masters Series event on clay in Hamburg this month in grand style. Yes, he has established himself as the game's dominant player after winning Wimbledon, the season-ending Tour championships in Houston and the Australian Open in the past 11 months. But he has yet to make an impact at the French Open. In six appearances, he has lost in the first round three times and advanced to one quarterfinal. Although he finally won a match on center court for the first time this year, defeating Nicolas Kiefer in the second round, he will have to wait until next year to win another. As with other attacking players before him — John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and Pete Sampras — this Grand Slam event is shaping up as his ultimate challenge. "The last three years haven't been the best for me here," Federer said. "Matches like today, where I never get the grip of the match really, of the sensations — this is what's a little bit worrying for me." Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati put a twist on that formula. Neither American played the way she can Saturday, yet each still won. Capriati had the trickier opponent, the erratic Russian Elena Bovina, and required three sets and some nervy rallies down the stretch to prevail, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. After some great play in Rome this month, she has yet to have a straightforward match here. "I would expect that in a Grand Slam," Capriati said. "That's where everyone plays better and steps it up a notch. I still enjoy these kind of matches. I like it when I have to work, and I have to work my way into it. I think it better prepares me for the tougher matches that are going to come ahead." One of those should be a quarterfinal against Williams, who made much quicker work of the underpowered Croatian Silvija Talaja, 6-0, 6-4. Later, Venus Williams defeated the former French Open champion Mary Pierce, 6-3, 6-1. Only Venus's score was an accurate reflection of her performance. She has been the most impressive American in Paris thus far. Serena double-faulted nine times, made significantly more unforced errors than winners and let a 3-1 lead in the second set devolve into a 4-4 nail-biter. At least she kept her spirits up, smiling at her miscues and roaring with laughter late in the second set when one of her errant shots went much closer to the umpire's chair than to the other side of the net. Concentration and consistency seem to be challenges for Serena in her first Grand Slam event since last year's Wimbledon. She was stretched hard in the second round by the Russian teenager Maria Kirilenko. "I just needed to stay focused, and maybe I didn't," Serena said. Kuerten had no such difficulty keeping his eye on the ball and the objective. He has not been the same player since undergoing arthroscopic hip surgery in February 2002. He still feels pain in the hip, and he withdrew from the Barcelona tournament this year and skipped Rome and Hamburg before Roland Garros. Two weeks ago, he started a rehabilitation program to try to strengthen the muscles that support the hip. He arrived in Paris with low expectations and was two points from defeat in his five-set first-round match against Nicolás Almagro, a Spanish teenager. But center court at Roland Garros has long been the best therapy for Kuerten. "I have good feelings about this court," Kuerten said. "I have a lot of experience playing there, and I can normally surprise myself the way I play in this tournament."