PARIS Now things could get a little more interesting for Roger Federer.
After two 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 has beaten Federer once this year but came within two points of upsetting him at Wimbledon in 2012.
"I think I'm playing OK," Federer said in something of an understatement, considering he has 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 Somdev Devvarman, a two-time NCAA singles champion at Virginia, 6-2, 6-1, 6-1.
Federer accumulated a 54-12 advantage in winners, partly by advancing 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 at Wimbledon last year. Or the one who has beaten Federer twice in six meetings, including 6-3, 7-5 in February on an indoor hard court in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
The 30th-seeded Benneteau dealt with pain in his thigh during a topsy-turvy 7-6 (9), 7-5, 5-7, 0-6, 6-4 win over 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."
The same must be said when facing another past French Open champion, Serena Williams, who has been challenged about as much as Federer.
Williams extended her career-high winning streak to 26 matches by defeating wild card Caroline Garcia 6-1, 6-2. She has lost four games in two matches.
"It's important for me to win easily," said the 15-time major champion, who won the French Open in 2002. "It's also important for me to play well. If I play well, it will bode well for me at Roland Garros."
Serena and her sister Venus, however, withdrew from doubles. The tournament gave no reason.