The Big 3 men kept things rolling at Wimbledon Monday. On the greatest day on the tennis calendar, the greatest tennis players lived up the hype destroying their opposition in the fourth round.
On first on center, Nadal had now trouble hammer Joao Sousa 6-2, 6-2, 6-2. The Portuguese No. 1 who was playing in his first Wimbledon fourth round, never saw a break point in defeat.
“I think it was a good solid match,” Nadal said. “Still, the serve didn’t work as well as two days ago, but the rest of things have been very positive. A lot of positive things out there: good forehand, good backhand, changing the rhythm of the point with the slice sometimes, good volleys too. Happy for the victory and to be back in quarter-final. Great news for me.”
Nadal has now won his last 11 matches. He’ll now face American Sam Querrey who served his way to a third Wimbledon quarterfinal edging countryman Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 6-7(7), 7-6(3), 7-5.
“When he plays well, he can be very, very dangerous on all surfaces,” Nadal said of Querrey. “But of course, on fast surfaces, when he serves with his aggressive game, [he is] maybe more [dangerous].”
Federer was on later on Centre Court against the Matteo Berrettini. The 23-year-old had the most grass wins on the tour (12) and had won Stuttgart without dropping a set. But Federer made Berrettini look hapless out there, at one point making the Italian trip over himself late in the match much to the laughter of everyone. Federer cruised 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.
“I said, ‘Thanks for the tennis lesson, how much do I owe you?’” Berrettini said after.
“I think for sure I didn’t play my best match, but he was just too good for me today. He was playing good and I was kind of tight, also,” Berrettini added. “Before the match I was ready for that stuff, and also when he started to play like this, for me, it was really tough to do anything.
“You can try to change something, but when he’s playing like this, it’s tough to change. You can change mentally but he’s not going to change anything. I think it’s going to be really helpful for my career.”
Federer won his 99th career match at Wimbledon, and so far he’s looked more like 27 than 37.
“Today was excellent. I was very happy,” Federer said. “I was expecting a tough match and a close one with not many chances. It was actually quite the opposite, so that was great.”
The Swiss now gets Kei Nishikori who won comfortably 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 over Mikhail Kukushkin.
“I think it’s going to be tough, plus he’s getting into quarters with a lot of energy. I remember some of the Slams recently he arrived into the later stages with maybe some tough matches going into it. So far it’s been really easy for him,” Federer said. “I think he’s ready. I’m a big fan of his game. I think he’s got one of the best backhands in the game that we have right now. He’s a great return player. Solid mentally. I always thought he was a great talent.”
Defending champion Novak Djokovic was sent off the Court 1 to do battle and the Serb came good thrashing Frenchman Ugo Humbert 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. Djokovic never faced a break points en route to his 11th straight Wimbledon match win and 11th Wimbledon quarterfinal.
“That’s always the aim: to reach the final stages of Grand Slams,” he said. “These are the biggest events in our sport so I always try to set my form so that I can play my best at these tournaments. I try not to take things for granted – to get to the final eight is a great result but we keep on going.
“I never played Ugo before but I’ve seen him play at the US Open last year, French Open this year; he’s won against a couple of great players at this tournament. So I definitely had to study his game and tactically adjust. He probably wasn’t at his best but he’s had a great tournament and I’m just very pleased to execute the job in three sets.”
Djokovic next faces Belgian David Goffin. The 21st-seeded Goffin defeated Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco 7-6(9), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach his first Wimbledon quarterfinal.
“To reach the quarter-finals for the first time, it means a lot, and especially because a few months, I had tough moments on the court, tough moments off the court,” Goffin said. “Now, to be back with my best tennis, especially here, it’s the perfect place and the perfect moment.”
Of all the players, the only one who hasn’t dropped a set (in either draw) is Roberto Bautista Agut. The 31-year-old reached his second Slam quarterfinal of the year after dispatching Benoit Paire 6-3, 7-5, 6-2. Bautista Agut has dropped serve just twice all event.
He’ll now test surprise quarterfinal Guido Pella who came from two sets down to deny former finalist Milos Raonic 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(3), 8-6.
“It’s a very nice feeling, because seriously, I never thought that I was going to do the quarter-finals in a Grand Slam,” Pella said.
“I always try to fight for every ball. When I was two sets down, that was a very tough moment for me because he was playing really, really good. But after the third set, I think I started to play much better.
“When I won the fourth set, it was not easier for me, but… I felt he was starting to be a little bit down in his game, slower and so I tried to be more focused than ever.”
It was the first time Raonic has blown a two set lead in his career. The big-serving Canadian served for the match at 5-4 in the fourth.
“I just started to run out of gas,” Raonic said. “Obviously, he was the one who was physically much better towards the end.
“It’s frustrating. It’s twice this year. I ran out of gas in Australia and ran out of gas here. That happened to me a few times early in my career, and I thought it was unacceptable, and I think of it exact same way now.”
Pella now has consecutive wins over two former runner ups in Kevin Anderson and now Raonic. It’s his first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
The men will have a day off before return for the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
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