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Posted at 04:51 PM ET, 06/29/2012

Wimbledon 2012: Roger Federer pulls out a five-set win over Julien Benneteau

This time, it nearly was Roger Federer’s turn.

The six-time Wimbledon champion was pushed to five sets Friday by Julien Benneteau of France, a day after Rafael Nadal fell victim to an upset at the All England Club. Federer pulled out a 4-6, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 victory.

Federer had not lost in the third round of a major tournament since being bounced from the 2004 French Open. On Thursday, Nadal, the No. 2 seed, fell to 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol, a shocker that Federer said wasn’t on his mind.

“You focus on your match and Julien was playing amazing. ... I knew it was going to be a difficult match,” Federer told the BBC. “He played so well, he was making me doubt obviously for most of the match and that’s a credit to him. He just played amazing, I thought.”

Julien Benneteau took Roger Federer to five sets. (LEON NEAL / AFP / Getty Iamges)
In winning his second-round match, Federer had been impressive, winning 37 of 41 points on his first serve and 21 of 23 points at the net against Fabio Fognini, but he struggled to assert that dominance against Benneteau.

“It was a tough match,” Federer said. “It was brutal. A bit of luck maybe on my side, who knows? I tried hard, I fought until the very end . Obviously he was hurt [a trainer had come out to attend to Benneteau], I guess, in some way in the fifth set. I tried in the third, fourth and fifth just to stay alive and come back.”

In other men’s matches, the tournament’s top seed, Novak Djokovic, Djokovic advanced with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Radek Stepanek.

On the women’s side, Maria Sharapova, the top seed, advanced with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Su-Wei Hsieh. Kim Clijsters advanced whenVera Zvonereva was forced to retire because of respiratory issues. Clijsters was leading 6-3, 4-3.

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