Top seed Novak Djokovic brushed off a first set loss to Radek Stepanek at Wimbledon on Friday, defeating the Czech, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.
Using his eclectic game to great effect, Stepanek employed his serve and volley skills to keep his Serbian opponent off balance to begin the match. However, honing in on his top notch return game, Djokovic broke serve six times in the final three sets to improve his head-to-head with Stepanek to 7-1.
Aiming to win his sixth career grand slam title, Djokovic will next face his countryman Viktor Troicki, who defeated Juan Monaco 7-5, 7-5, 6-3.
In the match of the day, six-time former winner Roger Federer overcame a two sets to love deficit to defeat an inspired Julien Benneteau, 4-6, 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-6(6), 6-1.
Going up against an opponent with nothing to lose, Federer struggled with his net game throughout the five set encounter, but improved his serve as the match grew on.
Winning 56 percent of his net points, Federer won 79 percent of his first serve points and hit 53 winners to 29 unforced errors.
Benneteau, who won his last match against Federer at the Paris indoors event in 2009, played the match of his life but couldn’t sustain his fitness level in the fifth set when he began to cramp.
Capturing the eighth win of his career after dropping the first two sets, Federer will next play Xavier Malisse. The world No. 75 took out Fernando Verdasco in five sets, 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
Elsewhere, Mikhail Youzhny defeated Janko Tipsarevic 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; Richard Gasquet ousted Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-4, 6-4; Florian Mayer dismissed Jerry Janowicz 7-6(5), 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 and Denis Istomin got past Alejandro Falla 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5).
Saturday’s action at Wimbledon will feature Andy Murray and Andy Roddick.