WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND – Roger Federer has set his sights on two gold medals after taking the express route into the third round of the Olympics with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over France’s Julien Benneteau on Monday.
Federer had struggled with the extra pressure of representing Switzerland at the games after a scrappy three-set win against Alejandro Falla in the first round on Saturday.
But this was a far more convincing display from the world number one as he took 58 minutes to see off Benneteau on Centre Court and book a last-16 tie against Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin.
After winning Wimbledon for a record-equaling seventh time earlier this month, Federer is desperate to complete a career ‘Golden Slam’ by winning a singles gold medal for the first time.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion would also love to retain the doubles gold he won with compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka in Beijing in 2008.
“Sure, why not? I entered in both events hoping I could do well in both. It would be a dream come true,” Federer said.
“Nobody believes it’s possible at this moment and I’m still very far away from all the medals in singles and doubles.
“Lets not get carried away too quickly, but I’m happy with my level of play.”
If Federer can win both gold medals it would emulate the achievement of Chile’s Nicolas Massu, who won the singles and doubles at the 2004 Games in Athens.
But Federer takes more inspiration from compatriot Marc Rosset, who was the shock singles gold winner in Barcelona in 1992.
“I definitely got inspired by Marc Rosset. That was huge news in Switzerland,” he said.
“I felt like I was inspired by that on an Olympic level. Then I just remember following all the great Olympians for many years. I also hoped one day I could take part in the Olympics.
“Ever since, it’s been something very important in my life. I’m happy to be back here healthy and having a chance to do great.”
Benneteau, ranked 32nd, pushed Federer to the brink in the third round of Wimbledon this year, taking the first two sets before the 30-year-old hit back to win in five.
But from the moment Federer unfurled a cross-court winner to break Benneteau in the second game, there was never any chance of a repeat of that drama at the All England Club.
Federer was in total command throughout his short stay on Centre Court and a final total of 24 winners and seven aces was testimony to his dominance.
Venus, Serena victorious
A schedule backlog transformed the Olympics at Wimbledon into a parade of Grand Slam champions Monday, with the Williams sisters and Roger Federer all playing.
And all won.
“What a good day for fans between me, Venus, Roger and all the other players,” Serena Williams said. “It’s really such a great experience.”
Venus Williams waited an extra day because of rain to begin her bid for a record fourth gold medal in Olympic tennis, then defeated recent French Open runnerup Sara Errani of Italy, 6-3, 6-1.
Serena completed a July sweep of Poland’s Radwanska sisters by beating Urszula in the second round, 6-2, 6-3.
After winning in singles, the Williams sisters began a bid for their third Olympic doubles gold medal by eliminating Sorana Cirstea and Simona Halep of Romania 6-3, 6-2. They won in 2000 and 2008.
“Another gold medal would be amazing,” Venus said. “I can’t even imagine the feeling. I think my head would be too big, and no one would even like me anymore.”
Other major champions to advance in singles included three-time Olympian Lleyton Hewitt, top-seeded Victoria Azarenka, Kim Clijsters, Petra Kvitova, Ana Ivanovic and three-time Wimbledon runnerup Andy Roddick.
Roddick’s victory set up the first showdown of the tournament. As a price for being unseeded, he’ll face 2011 Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic.
“That’s my own fault,” Roddick said. “It’s tough. That’s obviously not an ideal situation, but I’m sure he’s not thrilled about it either.”
Leander Paes of India became the first tennis player to compete in six Olympics and teamed with Vishnu Vardhan for a doubles victory.