Federer to face Benneteau in third round

Roger Federer will square off against a familar foe at a Grand Slam event after cruising through his second-round match at Roland Garros on Wednesday.

In brushing aside qualifier Somdev Devvarman 6-2, 6-1, 6-1, Federer set a third-round clash with 30th-seeded Frenchman Julien Benneteau, the man who nearly eliminated the Swiss superstar in the round of 32 at Wimbledon just a year ago.

Benneteau won the first two sets, but failed to close out the eventual champion, having been within two points of victory on six occasions. Federer then won a re-match in convincing fashion at the London 2012 Olympics, but Benneteau made the latest statement, ousting Federer in Rotterdam this year.

“He doesn't need to change his game. It worked back then, so it's up to me now to change something and to see what didn't work during that match and to see how I can change it,” stated Federer. “I'm going to work with my coaches and try to see what I have to change in my game.

“It's true when I play against him he makes it difficult for me. I have some problems and I have to find a solution. Anyway, I like that kind of challenge. I'm looking forward to it. We haven’t played often on clay.”

Against Devvarman, Federer broke the Indian to begin the match, and never looked back, capitalising on seven of his 14 break point opportunities. Federer was equally as effective on serve with a 74 per cent success rate. The World No. 3 finished off Devarrman in 82 minutes to improve to 2-0 in their Head 2 Head series.

"I felt like I was playing wheelchair tennis and he was just playing on a PlayStation," Devvarman said, showing as much sensitivity to political correctness as his groundstrokes had bite.

"Nobody out there is excited to see Roger on the other side of the net," was how Devvarman analyzed the occasion.

"You feel like he can really hurt you from any part of the court. Whenever I felt I was ahead in the point, he hits a big slice or he a forehand that you don't see coming and the next thing you know you are back on neutral terms."

"Then the guy's offense is probably the best in the game and he has no holes. His record speaks for itself and I don't think I have to boast for him."

For Federer, it was more than anything a test of concentration rather than an opportunity to iron out creases in his game.

"I'm happy that I have played offensive and aggressive tennis in the first two matches, because I had the opportunity. I didn't back off and start to play passive tennis and wait for mistakes. So I took it to my opponent, and I think that's what's good about it."

With the win, Federer secured his 898th tour-level victory. Only three players in the Open Era have won 900 matches. Federer is the only active player other than Rafael Nadal to triumph at the second major tournament of the season in Paris, having lifted the trophy in 2009 (d. Soderling).

Date: 29th May 2013, Source: ATP and Reuters


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