As the Fortnight progresses, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer look set to reach this year’s Championship Round to re-enact their last meeting on Centre Court when the Serb saved two match points to win his fifth Wimbledon title and deny the Swiss his ninth.
I’m extremely happy. Tricky conditions inside and outside against Lorenzo, always dangerous. But I felt like after that first set, I was able to control things. It was a great match. I couldn’t be more excited to be in the quarters. It’s a big moment and I’m very, very happy Roger Federer
Manic Monday – the last to be scheduled by the AELTC with play planned from 2022 for the traditional ‘day of rest’– has cleared out some of the obstacles which could have prevented that meeting.
Djokovic crushed Cristian Garin of Chile 6-2 6-4 6-2 for his 18th straight win at Wimbledon and is yet to be beaten at a Grand Slam this year as he clocked up his 50th career quarter-final at major level.
“I am happy, particularly with the match today. After the third round, it was kind of up and down for me,” Djokovic said. “Today was a very solid performance from the first to last point. I was mentally present. I was serving much better, using the court well.
“Cristian played for his first time on Centre Court. You could see he was nervous, making a lot of unforced errors at the beginning of the match, which gave me an opportunity to win first set comfortably.”
Meanwhile his rival, the ever-popular Federer, while still showing some lack of match play following knee surgery and injuries, made up for a patchy start to ease past Lorenzo Sonego of Italy 7-5 6-4 6-2.
The Swiss star failed to serve out at 5-4 in the first set and at 5-all, Advantage Federer, the match was interrupted by rain forcing the roof on Centre Court to be closed. On their return Lorenzo double faulted to hand the sixth seed the break which marked the turning point of the match for he then progressed into the last eight of a Grand Slam for the 58th time!
“I’m extremely happy. Tricky conditions inside and outside against Lorenzo, always dangerous,” said Federer. “But I felt like after that first set, I was able to control things. It was a great match. I couldn’t be more excited to be in the quarters. It’s a big moment and I’m very, very happy.”
In the next round Djokovic will take on Marton Fucsovics who ousted the fifth seed Andrey Rublev 6-4 4-6 4-6 6-0 6-3 to reach his first quarter final at a Grand Slam and win his first match against the Russian in four meetings.
“I was not thinking about the previous matches. This one was a different match,” said Fucsovics who won the Wimbledon juniors in 2010. “We played on grass. I really like the surface. I think my game fits the surface very well. I think Andrey’s game is not the best on grass, so I just was focusing on the next points. I took my chances. I didn’t give up. Then that was the key.”
The 29-year-old is just the third Hungarian male and the first in 73 years to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals, the previous two being Bela von Kehrling (1929) and Jozsef Asboth (1948).
There were three Russian vying for places in the last eight and should two or more win through, it would be the first time that Russia will have achieved that as far as the men’s draw is concerned,
With Rublev out it was left to Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev to bring home the prize.
Khachanov complied in what was one of the craziest fifth sets witnessed. With 13 breaks of serve (a Wimbledon record for a single set) neither the Russian 25th seed or his opponent, the unseeded Sebastian Korda, seemed capable of holding serve to clinch the win but, after 3-hours and 46-minutes, Khachanov managed it.
The 3-6 6-4 6-3 5-7 10-8 victory was clinched on his fourth match point after hitting 25 winners and 19 aces!
For Korda, the loss came on the day he was celebrating his 21st birthday.
Meanwhile the third Russian, Daniil Medvedev playing last out on No.2 Court, was caught out by the rain which forced his match with Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz to be suspended overnight with Medvedev serving at 6-2 6-7(2) 6-3 3-4.
The winner will provide Federer with some tough opposition on Wednesday. That brought a wry response from the Swiss great when he was asked about the match’s suspension and the player’s reaction to the delay.
“You’re not happy about it. It’s not fair, but that’s how it goes. I’ve been in those situations many times before,” he commented. “These guys are young, they can recover. It’s not a problem for them.”
And then joked: “Unfortunately, they’re very, very good, too, so hopefully it rains again tomorrow. I’m kidding. I’m kidding!”
And Canada is also celebrating with two of their nationals comfortably ensconced in the last eight, namely Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Shapovalov is proving to be a tricky customer as he showed by outplaying the veteran Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, the 2019 Wimbledon semi-finalist, 6-1 6-3 7-5.
His countryman though, produced what could described as the biggest upset of the day when he eliminated the fourth seed Alexander Zverevin a rain interrupted match, 6-4 7-6(6) 3-6 3-6 6-4.
It was the young Canadian’s best win of his career as he came from a break down in the first four sets and then held off the German in the decider.
“It’s a dream come true, I’m just a normal guy from Canada,” the 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime said. “It’s the biggest victory of my life, under a closed roof the atmosphere was amazing and I’m living this win with you.”
The victory was Auger-Aliassime’s first over Zverev, first in five sets and earned him a spot in his first Slam quarterfinal.
“It was super difficult, knowing I have never beaten him, let alone won a set against Alex,” he added. “When he started to come back I really needed to dig deep and without the fans it would have been a lot tougher.”
Finally Matteo Berrettini awaits Auger-Alliasime, the Italian having dispatched Ilya Ivashka 6-4 6-3 6-1 earlier in the day which gave him time to watch his girlfriend Alja Tomljanovic play Britan’s latest star Emma Radukanu who was unfortunately forced to retire in the second set of their match.