LONDON, July 7: Eight-time Wimbledon singles champion Roger Federer posted yet more landmarks as all the main contenders encountered few problems in reaching the last 16.
Switzerland’s Roger Federer serves to Lucas Pouille of France during day six of the Wimbledon in London. – AP/PTI
Federer registered a record 350th win in Grand Slam matches in his 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) victory over Lucas Pouille of France on Saturday and in the process reached the fourth round for an unprecedented 17th time.
“It’s a nice number to achieve. I’ve enjoyed my time at the Slams,” said Federer, who next plays Matteo Berrettini of Italy, of his Grand Slam record. “It’s been nice winning that much.”
Earlier, his great rival and two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal had a much more enjoyable experience than his previous match as he eased into the last 16 with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 romp over French veteran Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The ease with which Nadal made the fourth round for the ninth time was replicated on the women’s side by Ashleigh Barty, who will be breaking new ground in appearing in the last 16 for the first time.
Seven-time women’s champion Serena Williams is also into the second week for the 16th time.
Nadal, who embraced Tsonga fondly at the end in stark contrast to the chilly handshake he had with fiery Australian Nick Kyrgios in the previous round, said he was delighted with the manner of his victory.
“I was very happy. I played a great match from the beginning to the end,” said Nadal.
He next plays Portugal’s Joao Sousa who ended British hopes with a five-set win over Dan Evans.
On the women’s side Barty and Williams could meet in a blockbuster quarterfinal if they win their last 16 matches on ‘Manic Monday’.
Two of the top 10 seeds did bow out, Dutch fourth seed Kiki Bertens and American ninth seed Sloane Stephens losing to Czech Republic’s Barbora Strycova and Britain’s French Open semifinalist Johanna Konta respectively.
While Barty will be in new territory playing singles at Wimbledon in the second week for the first time, for Williams it is the 16th.
Barty overwhelmed British wild card Harriet Dart 6-1, 6-1 while 37-year-old, seven-time champion Williams produced her most convincing display in defeating Germany’s Julia Goerges 6-3, 6-4.
Barty, bidding to become the first Australian Wimbledon women’s champion since Evonne Goolagong Cawley won her second title in 1980, will play unseeded American Alison Riske for a place in the last eight. She is also the first Australian woman to make the second week since 2010.
“Incredible it is a first for me (to be in the last 16), new territory for me.” Williams goes on to face Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro for a place in the quarterfinals. – AFP