Photo: Eisele/Giubilo/ZimmerRoger Federer (SUI)
LONDON, GREAT BRITAIN: Roger Federer was in commanding form at Wimbledon as he defeated Julien Benneteau 62 62 to advance to the second round of the Olympics.
The Frenchman had no break points in a match that lasted just 58 minutes and contained none of the drama of their third round meeting here just three weeks ago, in which Benneteau took the first two sets to force Federer to win in five.
Benneteau stretched Federer to deuce on his serve in the opening game of the match but that didn’t set the trend for what followed. Instead the world No. 1 broke him easily in the following game, and Benneteau could only manage five more points on the Swiss’ serve for the rest of the set. Federer broke the Frenchman a second time as he was serving to stay in the set, converting his first set point when Benneteau sent a return into the net.
The second set was almost a mirror image of the first as Federer broke once in the fourth game, and again as Benneteau was serving to stay in the set. Benneteau, ranked 32 in the world, played below his best and won just five points on the Federer serve, again conceding the set, and this time the match, with a netted forehand.
It was a disappointing day for Benneteau, who must have thought he was in with a chance after his recent performance against the Swiss maestro. But he was unable to find any answer to the world No. 1, who hit 24 winners and 7 aces.
If the match wasn’t as competitive as they’d hoped it would be, the crowd packed into Centre Court didn’t show it. They broke into a couple of Mexican waves in the second set and cheered the 17-time Grand Slam champion all the way.
“I had a good time on court. I thought the atmosphere was good,” said Federer. He plays the 34th-ranked Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan in the third round as he moves another step closer to the gold medal.
When asked after his Benneteau victory what it would be like to be Olympic champion, Federer said, “(It would be a) dream come true, I would say, because I definitely get inspired by the 1992 victory by Marc Rosset. He won the Olympics. That was huge news in Switzerland. I definitely felt like I was inspired by that on an Olympic level.
“So when I got the call in 2000 to be part of the Sydney Olympics 12 years ago, I got there, I stayed in the village. I was there for over two weeks. I had the best time following sports, being there with the athletes, playing so well. I almost overachieved in that tournament. Ever since it's been something very important in my life.”
Among tennis’s major prizes, only the Davis Cup and Olympic singles gold still elude him. Federer has already tasted Olympic glory winning the doubles gold medal in Beijing with Stanislas Wawrinka, and the pair take to the court in defence of their title later today against Japanese duo Kei Nishikori and Go Soeda.
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