By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon

  • Roger Federer [1] def. Adrian Mannarino [22] 6-0 7-5 6-4
  • Kevin Anderson [8] def. Gael Monfils 7-6(4) 7-6(2) 5-7 7-6(4)
  • Rafael Nadal [2] def. Jiri Vesely 6-3 6-3 6-4
  • Juan Martin Del Potro [5] led Gilles Simon 7-6(1) 7-6(5) 5-7 when bad light stopped play
WIMBLEDON, UK – Predictably Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal cruised into the last eight, but there were more scheduling woes for Novak Djokovic while Juan Martin Del Potro and Gilles Simon were carried over.

 

Roger Federer [1] to face Kevin Anderson [8]

Roger Federer in the first round of Wimbledon 2018

Roger Federer in the first round of Wimbledon 2018 | (GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

All that awaits defending champion Roger Federer as he continues his cruise through the rounds are the big-serving antics of Kevin Anderson up next, and the winner of the match between John Isner and Milos Raonic.

It will be an exercise in returning for the eight-time Wimbledon champion as he looks to win a 21st Grand Slam, and certainly looks on course to reach the final.

Up next for him will be Anderson, who reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon for the first time, on his 10th Wimbledon appearance. He contended with a committed Gael Monfils, edging the Frenchman in two tie-breaks before another tight set went the Frenchman’s way.

Closing out anther tie-break sets him the task of trying to snap a four-match losing streak to the Swiss. More than that – Anderson has yet to take a set off him. What did look impressive though was his movement at times against the unpredictable Monfils.

Federer is chasing all manner of records already at this tournament, having equalled Jimmy Connors’ Open Era record for the most appearances in the round of 16, at Wimbledon. He is chasing his own record for the most consecutive sets at Wimbledon – currently at 29, his record stands at 34.

Anderson assumes he will be able to make the most of his opportunity on Centre Court for just his second time.

He said, after his match: “I feel like a lot of aspects of my game can give him a lot of trouble. I’m a big player, big serve. I’m going to have to really take it to him. Also, at the same time try to treat it like another tennis match. Only my second time out on Centre Court. He’s played there a few more times than that.

“Important to sort of try to think about the match a little bit ahead, visualise the conditions, being out there. The more I can just treat it like another tennis match, the better for me.

“I feel like I’m playing some of the best tennis of my career. When I’m doing that, I think I’m a very dangerous player. I think people can see that and can feel that. I’m definitely going to have to bring that on Wednesday.”

 

Rafael Nadal [2] def. Jiri Vesely 6-3 6-3 6-4, Djokovic through but Del Potro to finish on Tuesday

Rafael Nadal in the third round of Wimbledon 2018

Rafael Nadal in the third round of Wimbledon 2018 | (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal has been probably enjoying the super-heated conditions of an English heatwave – the courts are hard and running on the quick side, which suits his game, but his side of the draw is arguably the hardest of the two.

He will face the eventual winner of the match between Juan Martin Del Potro and Gilles Simon. Starting well before Novak Djokovics match, they failed to finish while the three-time Wimbledon champion closed out his place in the quarter-finals.

With Simon having pulled back a set, Del Potro will hope to come back and close out the match quickly, but even so, his record against Nadal is pretty one-sided. The Spaniard leads 10-5 and has won both their encounters on grass.

For now, the best chance of a challenge remains Djokovic who is showing a return to form on the grass. While he will be pushed by Kei Nishikori in his quarter-final, it looks increasingly like we will see a resumption of the rivalry that is one of the closest, given all the possible combinations of semi-finalists. Djokovic leads by just one in a head to head of 26-25. While Roland Garros felt like a slam too soon for the returning Serbian, it looks like he is hitting form at the right time.

However yet again scheduling decisions by the AELTC continue to baffle as they decided to put mixed doubles on Centre Court instead of starting Djokovic’s match as Anderson looked to be closing out his four-set win over Monfils.

While the tie-break was in full sway, the Centre Court crowd were getting ready to enjoy hits and giggles, but there were hardly likely to be any such antics in the camps of Djokovic and Karen Khachanov.

Djokovic said, after beating the Russian: “Post-match I heard that the organizers were planning to cancel my match if Monfils and Anderson went to a fifth. Luckily for me it didn’t happen.

“I’m glad that we’re talking tonight after a fourth-round win. It’s what I wished for. Like last year, I received the information that they can’t reschedule my match on the other court because of the tickets that are presold. I guess there are other factors that play in.”

It will be a gruelling duel – certainly it looks like the biggest test Nadal is likely to face ahead of a possible final showdown with Federer. Either way, it is beginning to feel like normal service is resuming at the hands of (currently) the Big Three.

The Gentlemen’s Singles quarter-finals will take place on Wednesday.

 

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