Federer's great escape
Serena prevails over tenacious Zheng, Kvitova wins
Roger Federer set pulses racing as he diced with danger for more than three hours before dousing the fireworks of French buccaneer Julien Benneteau with a pulsating 4-6, 6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-1 Wimbledon third-round win on Friday.
Just 24 hours after Rafael Nadal's unlikely demise, Benneteau sent shockwaves of equal magnitude around the All England Club as he destroyed Federer during the first two sets with ferocious forehands, belting backhands and audacious reflex shots.
When the Frenchman stood two points from victory in the 12th game of the fourth set, and again in the tiebreak, it seemed as if Federer's incredible streak of reaching 32 consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinals or better would end on the Swiss's much-loved Centre Court arena.
But he withstood Benneteau's onslaught to steer the match into a fifth set.
Once there, the zing suddenly went out of Benneteau's previously supercharged legs.
He appeared like a man waking through treacle as he limped between points and even called on the trainer to massage his exhausted limbs back to life but it was to little avail as Federer raced through the final set. When the Swiss third seed brought up three match points and was waiting to deliver his final serve, a distraught Benneteau could not even face reality as he covered his eyes with his hand and turned his back to the net.
Spanish seventh seed David Ferrer roared into the Wimbledon fourth round by beating three-times runner-up Andy Roddick 2-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday.
Serena fights back
A subdued Serena Williams recovered from a sluggish start to beat China's Zheng Jie 6-7, 6-2, 9-7 in a marathon third-round match on Saturday.
The American four-times Wimbledon champion struggled to cope with the windy conditions and Zheng, seeded 25th, served consistently throughout the first set before winning it 7-5 in the tie-break.
The sixth-seeded Serena finally broke Zheng, Wimbledon semifinalist in 2008, in the fifth game of the second set and she did so again in the seventh on the way to levelling the match.
Serena, 30, recovered from 0-40 down to hold serve in the fourth game of the third set and she made the decisive break in the 15th game before converting her third match point to set up a last-16 clash with Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan.
Defending champion Petra Kvitova sailed effortlessly into the fourth round, sweeping aside American Varvara Lepchenko 6-1, 6-0.
Kvitova's fearsome forehand demoralised the Uzbek-born Lepchenko, who did not have the weapons to challenge the ruthlessly efficient fourth seed.
Kvitova maintained her razor-sharp concentration in the second set to complete a crushing victory. Second seed Victoria Azarenka swept aside Jana Cepelova 6-3, 6-3 while Ana Ivanovic fought back from a set down to ousts Julia Goerges 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Results (prefix denotes seeding, men’s third round): 27-Philipp Kohlschreiber (Ger) bt Lukas Rosol (Czech) 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(6); Brian Baker (US) bt Benoit Paire (Fra) 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. 7-David Ferrer (Spa) bt 30-Andy Roddick (US) 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4, 6-3; 5-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra) bt Lukas Lacko (Slo) 6-4, 6-3, 6-3; 10-Mardy Fish (US) bt David Goffin (Bel) 6-3, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (6); 9-Juan Martin Del Potro (Arg) bt 19-Kei Nishikori (Jap) 6-3, 7-6 (3), 6-1; 27-Philipp Kohlschreiber (Ger) bt Lukas Rosol (Cze) 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (6); Brian Baker (US) bt Benoit Paire (Fra) 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.
Friday’s results (third round): 3-Roger Federer (Sui) bt 29-Julien Benneteau (Fra) 4-6, 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-6(6), 6-1;
Women's third round: 6-Serena Williams (US) bt 25-Zheng Jie (Chi) 6-7(5), 6-2, 9-7; Tamira Paszek (Aus) bt Yanina Wickmayer (Bel) 2-6, 7-6(4), 7-5; 2-Victoria Azarenka (Bel) bt Jana Cepelova (Slo) 6-3, 6-3; Yaroslava Shvedova (Kaz) bt 10-Sara Errani (Ita) 6-0, 6-4; 4-Petra Kvitova (Czech) bt Varvara Lepchenko (US) 6-1, 6-0; 14-Ana Ivanovic (Ser) bt 22-Julia Goerges (Ger) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4; 24-Francesca Schiavone (Ita) bt Klara Zakopalova (Czech) 6-0, 6-4.