Federer bounces back from two-set deficit, beats Benneteau
Wimbledon, England, United Kingdom (4E Sports) – Six-time champion Roger Federer displayed a fighting spirit, clawing back from a two-set deficit to defeat No. 29 Julien Benneteau, 4-6, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2, 7-6 (8-6), 5-1, Friday to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon.
The third-seeded Federer was two points away from his worst All-England Club finish in 10 years but squeezed out a close tie-break win in the fourth to force a deciding set.
In the fifth set, Federer converted two break points, won 13 points on his first serve and only had two unforced errors compared to the Frenchman’s five.
“I’m very fortunate,” said Federer, whose earliest exit at Wimbledon happened in 2002 after he bounced out in the first round by Mario Ancic.
The victory kept Federer’s bid to match Pete Sampras’ record seven Wimbledon titles and extended his record streak of 32 consecutive major quarterfinal. He can also overtake Novak Djokovic for the No. 1 spot in the world rankings if he wins the title.
Federer will next face Xavier Malisse, who defeated Fernando Verdasco, 1-6, 7-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, in the third round.
Joining Federer in the fourth round are Mikhail Youzhny, Denis Istomin and Richard Gasquet.
Youzhny reached the fourth round for the seventh time in 12 Wimbledon appearances after beating eighth-seeded Serbian Janko Tipsarevic, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
He will next face Istomin, who became the first Uzbek to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam championship after beating Colombian Alejandro Falla 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5) using 16 aces and 33 winners.
Gasquet, the No. 18 seed, overcame No. 12 seed and fellow 26-year-old Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 38 minutes.
On the women’s side, 15th seed Sabine Lisicki booked a place in the fourth round against top seed Maria Sharapova after beating American teenager Sloane Stephens, 7-6 (7/5), 1-6, 6-2.
Kim Clijsters advanced to the next round after her opponent Vera Zvonareva retired due to breathing problems. Clijsters was ahead, 6-3, 4-3, when Zvonareva quit.
Clijsters will next face Angelique Kerber, who beat Christina McHale, 6-2, 6-3.
Clijsters and Sharapova are in a collision course in the quarterfinal round if they hurdle their fourth-round rivals.