Roger Federer survives scare to beat Julien Benneteau

French ace raced into two sets lead but six-time champion recovers to progress

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

Second seed Nadal's exit to unheralded Czech Lukas Rosol last 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.

Six-time champion Federer last failed to reach the fourth round of a grand slam in 2004.

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.

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 as well, with Federer winning 4-6 6-7 (7/3) 6-2 7-6 (8/6) 6-1.

"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.

Displaying a brilliant range of winners on both sides, Benneteau was creating the better chances and he had break opportunities in both the seventh and ninth games, Federer getting himself out of trouble with his serve.

The Frenchman was the next to rely on his serve to swerve danger, seeing off three set points in the 12th game and, no doubt buoyed by his escape, rushed to a tie-break win, never looking back after Federer's long forehand offered up a mini break on the first point.

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.

PA

Suggested Topics
Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
Review: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
VIDEO
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on during his side's defeat to Everton
footballBaines and Mirallas score against United as Everton keep alive hopes of a top-four finish
Sport
Tour de France 2014Sir Rodney Walker on organising the UK stages of this year’s race
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’
TVJessica Brown Findlay on playing the spirited heroine of Jamaica Inn
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
News
People
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLE
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players