Roger Federer advances
PARIS -- Now things could get a little more interesting for Roger Federer.
After a pair of straightforward and straight-set victories at the French Open against qualifiers ranked outside the top 150, the 17-time major champion will face a seeded player, France's Julien Benneteau, who not only already beat Federer once this year but also came within two points of upsetting him at Wimbledon, of all places, in 2012.
"I think I'm playing OK," Federer said in something of an understatement, considering he's dropped 11 games through six sets so far. "Definitely think the next match is going to be sort of the big test for me, to see exactly where I stand."
There wasn't much trouble for Federer in the second round Wednesday, when he beat two-time NCAA singles champion Somdev Devvarman 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 in less than 1½ hours.
It really was something of a laugher, especially with Federer serving at 4-0 in the final set. He hit a first serve well out, and both players waited for the linesman to make a call -- which he finally did, albeit after a long delay. Federer and Devvarman chuckled, looked at each other, and chuckled some more. As Federer prepared to hit his second serve, he needed to pause because he couldn't regain his composure.
Otherwise, little bothered Federer.
"You obviously know he's capable of doing certain things, and you try and make life as tough for him as possible," said Devvarman, who played college tennis at Virginia. "In my case today, I didn't execute. And sometimes even when I did, I feel like he came up with the better shot."
Federer accumulated a 54-12 edge in winners, in part by moving forward to the net on 30 points.
"I'm happy that I was playing offensive and aggressive tennis in the first two matches, because I had the opportunity, but I didn't back off and start to play passive tennis and wait for mistakes. So I took it to my opponent," said Federer, the 2009 French Open champion. "But really, I think I'll only know more after the Benneteau match, to be quite honest."
Then again, Benneteau might not quite be the same guy who took the first two sets against Federer before losing in five on the grass of the All England Club nearly a year ago. Or the one who has beaten Federer twice in six meetings, including 6-3, 7-5 in February on an indoor hard court at Rotterdam, Netherlands.
The 30th-seeded Benneteau dealt with pain in his thigh Wednesday during a topsy-turvy 7-6 (9), 7-5, 5-7, 0-6, 6-4 win against Tobias Kamke of Germany. Ahead by two sets and at 5-all in the third, Benneteau dropped 10 games in a row before righting himself.
Even putting that aside, Benneteau explained, "Obviously it's all pretty tricky, (playing) Federer. He breezed through the first two rounds. He plays very well. ... You know you're going to have to really ramp up a gear."
Need the scores and stats from today's matches at the French Open? CourtCast
No seeded men lost Wednesday, and so far only one of the top 16 has, No. 5 Tomas Berdych. Joining No. 2 Federer in the third round were No. 4 David Ferrer, No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 10 Marin Cilic, No. 11 Nicolas Almagro, No. 14 Milos Raonic, No. 15 Gilles Simon, and No. 18 Sam Querrey, an American who was 1-6 in his Roland Garros career before this year and 2-0 this week.
"I'm really excited. That was my goal coming in. I've never made it third round here," said Querrey, who faces Simon next, "so anything past there is great."
The man who eliminated Berdych, France's Gael Monfils, followed that up by beating Ernests Gulbis 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-2 -- and, much like a tourist, Monfils shot some video by which to remember the occasion.
During a changeover, Monfils got permission from the chair umpire to use his phone to film the fans doing the wave.
Monfils explained: "He tell me, 'Sure, you can.' So I say, 'OK, I will tape it, like, quick.'"
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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