Federer storms past Benneteau, Isner stages first career comeback from two sets down

Roger Federer takes care of Julien Benneteau in straight sets during third-round action at Roland Garros on Friday. John Isner also finds the winner’s circle, book his place in the last 32 after overcoming fellow American Ryan Harrison in five.

(2) Roger Federer d. (3o) Julien Benneteau 6-3, 6-4, 7-5

Federer rolled over an ailing Benneteau in the third round of the French Open on Friday afternoon. The 2009 champion held his last 15 service games after getting broken in the first game of the match as he advanced in one hour and 31 minutes.

Benneteau, who had been a respectable 2-4 lifetime against Federer heading into this one–including a win in Rotterdam earlier this season, got off to a good start by racing to an immediate 2-0 advantage in the opening set. Federer, however, wasted no time returning the favor twice before serving out the first at 6-3.

With his opponent struggling due to leg issues, Federer remained in cruise-control mode the rest of the way. The third-ranked Swiss pocketed one break in each other last two sets and hardly bothered to go for more than what was necessary. Benneteau had one break point to get back on serve in the second, but he won a mere three of 27 return points in the third. It was all but over for the 30th-seeded Frenchman when he was broken in the penultimate game of the match at 5-5. Next up for the second seed is either Gilles Simon or Sam Querrey.

(19) John Isner d. Ryan Harrison 5-7, 6-7(7), 6-3, 6-1, 8-6

Isner came back from two sets down for the first time in his career and he also ended a streak of six straight losses in five-set matches when he got past Harrison in three hours and 50 minutes in a Friday second-rounder. The 6’9” American had suffered five-set losses in each of his last four Grand Slams (all four last season), but for a while it looked like he would not even get that far in this one. Harrison used a break at 5-5 to take the first set and saved one set point at 6-7 in the match’s only tiebreaker before capitalizing on his second chance at 8-7 to win it.

Undeterred by the disappointment and determined to get the five-set monkey off his back in style, Isner picked up the pace in the third and fourth. The world No. 21 broke twice in each frame and saved two break points in the process–both in the fourth. Harrison battled admirably in the decider, saving break points in three different games to stay on serve en route to a 6-6 deadlock. The 21-year-old finally cracked on Isner’s 10th break chance of the set with a double-fault at 6-6, 30-40. Isner converted his second match point in the final game with a clean forehand winner.

A high-quality encounter saw Isner record 61 winners and 52 unforced errors, while Harrison wrapped up his effort with 52 winners and 37 mistakes. Harrison, though, was doomed by nine double-faults whereas Isner fired 15 aces compared to just two doubles. Roland Garros’ No. 19 seed will face Tommy Haas in the third round on Saturday.

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