DEFENDING champion Roger Federer continued his serene progress at a Wimbledon full of shocks with a straightforward victory over Jan-Lennard Struff on Saturday morning (AEST).
The Swiss ace needed just over an hour-and-a-half to book a fourth-round spot by beating the big-serving German 6-3 7-5 6-2.
The 36-year-old Swiss extended his winning streak to 29 consecutive sets at the All England Club. The victory also saw him make history as he moved ahead of Jimmy Connors with the most wins ever on grass by a man. Federer now has 175 wins on his favourite surface.
“I think I can be very happy today,” said Federer, who will next face France’s Adrian Mannarino. “It’s a wonderful feeling walking out there, I try to put on a good match and try hard every time, regardless of how many times I’ve played at Wimbledon. It’s the most special court for me, hundreds of thousands must have come to see me play here.”
Federer, the only semi-finalist from last year left in either of the singles draws, will face France’s Adrian Mannarino on Monday.
He’s disappointed he won’t get a semi-final match-up with Marin Cilic. Third seed Cilic could have met Federer in the last four but crashed out in the second round to Argentinian Guido Pella, in one of the biggest shocks of the tournament.
“I’m disappointed for him because he’s a good guy,” Federer said of Cilic’s exit. “I really also expected him to go deep.
“I played Pella, as well, before in Stuttgart on the grass. I really favoured Marin in that match. But Pella did very well to fight back.
“It’s true, I favoured him in that section together with maybe (Milos) Raonic.”
With Cilic out, few would back against Federer winning a ninth title at the All England Club, especially on this form.
If he is to get through to the final on Sunday week he will have to come through a half of the draw that contains big-servers John Isner, Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils and Kevin Anderson. And given Raonic was the last man to beat Federer at Wimbledon, that might provide hope to those players.
Monfils made it through to the fourth round for the first time after beating Sam Querrey. The mercurial Frenchman beat last year’s semi-finalist 5-7 6-4 6-4 6-2 on Centre Court.
Monfils will tackle Anderson in the next round, and he enjoys a 5-0 winning record over the South African.
Anderson earlier became the first man through to the fourth round after beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 7-5 7-5.
Isner is in the fourth round after a routine 6-3 6-3 6-4 win over Radu Albot. The American won 6-3 6-3 6-4 on Court Three, serving 21 aces, to set up a last-16 meeting with Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The Greek was a straight-sets winner against Thomas Fabbiano, triumphing 6-2 6-1 6-4. Mannarino came through in five sets against Daniil Medvedev, winning 6-4 6-3 4-6 5-7 6-3 to set up a clash with Federer.
There was no comparable follow-up to Pella’s giant-killing as he was beaten in straight sets by World No. 103 Mackenzie McDonald.
The American won 6-4 6-4 7-6 (8-6) and will face either Dennis Novak or Raonic.
Alexander Zverev considered not returning to his second-round match against Taylor Fritz on Friday but set sickness aside to power through. Bad light on Court One had caused play to be suspended late on Thursday, with fourth seed Zverev struggling and trailing the world number 68 by two sets to one.
Darkness descended at just the right time as the German came back to win 6-4 5-7 6-7 (0-7) 6-1 6-2, justifying his eventual decision to not withdraw.
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