Updated: 30/06/2012 12:32 | By pa.press.net

French ace gives Federer a fright



It took Roger Federer five sets to overcome French challenger Julien Benneteau

It took Roger Federer five sets to overcome French challenger Julien Benneteau

Roger Federer avoided following Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon by coming from two sets down to beat Julien Benneteau.

Second seed Nadal's exit to unheralded Czech Lukas Rosol on Thursday night was one of the greatest grand slam shocks in recent memory. Although a loss for Federer against the French 29th seed would not have been as great a surprise, it would still been a remarkable upset.

There was trouble against Benneteau when he fell two sets behind, spurning three set points in the process, but he found his rhythm and eventually dragged himself back from the brink to win 4-6 6-7 (7/3) 6-2 7-6 (8/6) 6-1.

He was helped by Benneteau visibly wilting as the match went on. A one-time quarter-finalist at Roland Garros, he rather rolled over in the third set and, despite taking the fourth to a tie-break, meekly conceded the fifth.

"It was a tough match, it was brutal and I had a bit of luck on my side," Federer said. "I knew it would be a difficult match and he played amazing. When I was down, I tried to stay calm. People can freak out, people are worried for you, you don't have many lives left. You try to take it point by point."

It had looked as though five sets would not be needed when Benneteau pulled ahead, taking the opener when he broke in the ninth - Federer netting a backhand.

The Swiss responded by taking his opponent's serve at the start of the second but uncharacteristically failed to cement the break, losing his own serve in the very next game. It was the Frenchman who saw off three set points in the 12th game of the second set and, no doubt buoyed by his escape, rushed to a tie-break win.

Out of keeping with the match at that point, the third set was a brisk affair, Federer breaking twice early on to take it, but the fourth returned to form, with both men holding through to a tie-break.

Benneteau did have to save three break points in the fifth game but was untroubled apart from that and, at 30-15 on Federer's serve in 12th, had half an opening. Victory, in theory, was two points away. He could not seize the chance however, and after saving one set point in the breaker he netted on the next and the match was levelled.

That was the green light Federer needed to reach the finish line first, breaking to love in the fourth game of the decider with a forehand around the net and again in the next Benneteau service game to see it out.

0Comments
10 reasons to make MSN UK your homepage (© Microsoft)

latest tennis news

  • Agnieszka Radwanska was dumped out of the US open by Shuai Peng  AP

    Fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska became the first major casualty of the US Open when she was dumped out in the second round by Peng Shuai.

  • Andy Murray sees the rest of his US Open campaign as a second chance

    Andy Murray will hope he can at last trust his body when he plays his second-round match against Matthias Bachinger at the US Open on Thursday.

  • Roger Federer is bidding for his 18th major title

    Roger Federer put on a show in front of Michael Jordan to reach the second round of the US Open.

  • Lukas Rosol, pictured, was beaten by 17-year-old Borna Coric in the first round of the US Open

    Borna Coric announced himself as a coming force in men's tennis by knocking out Lukas Rosol in the opening round of the US Open.

  • Serena Williams defeated fellow American Taylor Townsend in the first round of the US Open

    Serena Williams began her quest for a third straight US Open title with a convincing win over American teenager Taylor Townsend.

  • Dominika Cibulkova, left, was beaten by 15-year-old Cici Bellis at the US Open

    Fifteen-year-old American wild card Cici Bellis stunned Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova in the biggest upset of the US Open so far.

  • Heather Watson, pictured, lost her opening US Open match to Sorana Cirstea in just 54 minutes

    Heather Watson was shocked by her poor performance against Sorana Cirstea in the first round of the US Open.

  • Andy Murray struggled through to round two  AP

    Andy Murray was shocked to be let down by his body in a dramatic first-round victory over Robin Haase at the US Open.

  • Novak Djokovic defeated Diego Schwartzman to reach the second round of the US Open

    Novak Djokovic cast off concerns over his form and mindset by easing to a 6-1 6-2 6-4 win over Diego Schwartzman in the first round of the US Open.

  • Maria Sharapova won 10 games in a row to beat Maria Kirilenko at the US Open  AP

    Maria Sharapova recovered from a slow start to defeat fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko and reach the second round of the US Open.

  • Andy Murray, pictured, was unsure why he suffered cramp in his US Open first-round win over Robin Haase

    Andy Murray feels he is "playing with the house's money" after his narrow escape against Robin Haase at the US Open.

  • There were a combined 77 years between Venus Williams, left, and her US Open first-round opponent Kimiko Date-Krumm  AP

    Venus Williams won the battle of the veterans against Kimiko Date-Krumm on day one at the US Open while Simona Halep was given a scare by an amateur.

  • Nick Kyrgios was in trouble with the umpire during his first-round win  AP

    Wimbledon hero Nick Kyrgios came close to being thrown out of the US Open for swearing.

  • James McGee will not play on Centre Court at Flushing Meadows this year

    James McGee was unable to keep his New York fairytale going at the US Open.

  • Johanna Konta lost in the first round of the US Open

    Britain's Johanna Konta fell at the first hurdle in the US Open with defeat by Israel's Shahar Peer.