Roger Federer eased past Norway's Casper Ruud 6-3 6-1 7-6(10-8) on Friday to become the oldest male player to reach the fourth round at the French Open.

Playing in his 400th Grand Slam match, the 37-year-old showed little mercy to his 20-year-old Norwegian opponent, whose father Christian reached the third round when Federer first played on the 'terre battue' of Roland Garros as a wild card entrant in 1999.

Federer needed little more than an hour to pick up the first two sets, but a rare lapse in the Federer concentration allowed Ruud, ranked 63 in the world, to pick up an early break in the third set.

The Swiss reeled the youngster back in, forcing the game to a tie-break where he squandered three match points before winning 10-8.

As he signed autographs at the end, a female fan said: "Roger, I've never seen you sweat before, this is crazy." Federer quipped back: "I know, I don't know what's going on, I must be getting old!"

Federer was making his first appearance at Roland Garros since he reached the quarter-finals in 2015. He withdrew from the event in 2016 and missed the entire clay court season in 2017 and 2018 to focus on grass.

Sounding relaxed in a post-match interview, Federer, one of tennis' most elegant playmakers, praised his opponent's tenacity - and his grunt-free ball-hitting.

"He doesn't make any noise. I love that," he said.

Federer is vying for his second French Open title 10 years after his first in 2009 and to set a record for the longest gap between winning a second title at a Grand Slam in the Open era. He will meet either French wild card Nicolas Mahut or Argentina's Leonardo Mayer in the fourth round. 

Rafael Nadal dropped a set at the French Open for only the second time since 2015 but recovered to beat David Goffin and reach the fourth round.

The 11-time champion had won all his matches in straight sets the last three years apart from in the quarter-finals 12 months ago, when he lost one set against Diego Schwartzman.

Nadal tore through the opening two sets against 27th seed Goffin but the Belgian fought back impressively to take the third before the Spaniard completed a 6-1 6-3 4-6 6-3 victory.

The win saw Nadal match Federer by making the last 16 here for the 14th time, an all-time record.

On the 10th anniversary of his most famous defeat, when he was beaten in the fourth round by Robin Soderling to lose on the Paris clay for the first time, Nadal seemed in a hurry to write a happier story on 31 May.

He raced through the first five games, and Goffin, who had won his first two matches with impressive ease, struggled simply to get a foothold in the match.

But things changed in the third set as Goffin matched his opponent stride for stride before breaking serve for the first time in the match in the ninth game and serving it out.

It was the first set Goffin has managed to win against Nadal in four meetings on clay, and the earliest round in which the 32-year-old has lost a set here for six years.

But Goffin was unable to turn a set into a real challenge to Nadal, who wrapped up victory after two hours and 49 minutes.