Roger Federer: 'I had to push deep and extremely hard'
The Swiss recovered from two sets down under the roof of Centre Court to beat Julien Benneteau, of France, 4-6, 6-7 (3), 6-2, 7-6 (6), 6-1 in 3hr 34 min to reach the fourth round.
It was the eighth time Federer has come back from two sets down to win a match after Benneteau, ranked 32 in the world, was within two points of victory five times in the match. But Federer escaped the fate of Rafael Nadal, who lost under the roof of Centre Court to Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic just 24 hours earlier.
"I had to push deep and extremely hard," said Federer who will now play anzother Frenchman, Xavier Malisse, on Monday.
The world No.3 expressed his relief at coming through the challenge of Benneteau, who is also 30, but has never won a tournament.
"I felt great. It's always one of the best feelings coming back from two sets to love in a grand slam and in particular here at Wimbledon where I have been able to do it before."
Federer defeated Alejandro Falla of Columbia after being two sets down in 2010.
"So I have been there, but obviously not with the roof closed. That made the atmosphere very special out there," said the world No.3 . "When you come through, it's even a better feeling because your spirits are lifted up and you're still in the tournament and you'll get another chance."
Federer has not lost before the last 16 of a grand slam since Roland Garros in 2004 and said his experience pulled him though last night.
"It is probably down to having been there so often. It is about knowing how to handle the situation, not to panic; knowing that once I broke at the beginning of the third set that this match is completely open and I'm only going to get stronger from here. Physically it was not going to be an issue. It was more mentally just knowing that I cannot afford any more mistakes."
Benneteau said he had been beaten by "the best player of all time". He added: "Mentally he's a rock, you know. He's two sets down and he doesn't show anything. After that, if your level is a little bit lower, right here, right now he takes the opportunity.
"At the beginning of the third set I was a little bit not as good as I was during the first two sets, and in five minutes it's 4 0. He has a capacity also to improve his game during the match. You have to be focused every point against him. You cannot make any mistakes. If you don't make the right shot tactically at the right place, you lose the point almost. So it's tough."
It was also very close.
back from the brink Swiss survives Centre Court scare. Wimbledon. Pages 2-6