Eight-time champion Roger Federer advanced to the Wimbledon quarter-finals, following top seed Novak Djokovic, who both breezed through their last-16 matches.
Djokovic, 34, won 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 against Chile’s Cristian Garin to extend his bid for a record-equaling 20th men’s Grand Slam title. Federer, who shares the record with Rafael Nadal, went on to defeat Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego 7-5, 6-4, 6-2.
The Swiss will face either second seed Daniil Medvedev or Hubert Hurkacz of Poland. Medvedev of Russia was leading 6-2 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 3-4 when the pair were forced off the outside court two due to persistent rain.
After defeating Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev, Djokovic will face Marton Fucsovics in the last eight. The Serb will now compete in his 50th Grand Slam quarter-final, with only Federer, 39, standing in his way after the Swiss reached his 58th.
Djokovic ‘playing with wings’ in SW19
Defending champion Djokovic did not need to find his best level, as he was still good enough to beat 17th seed Garin. Djokovic is likely to be tested more against Fucsovics than he was against clay-court specialist Garin on Centre Court.
The disparity between the five-time champion and an opponent who had never won a main-draw match at Wimbledon prior to this year was simply too great.
Djokovic served well and converted five of his 12 break points, and the fact that the Serb won 63 percent of the total points played demonstrated the match’s one-sided nature.
“I am delighted to reach the quarter-finals and I’m more delighted to see more fans on Centre Court,” Djokovic said, who won in front of a crowd that had grown to 75 percent of the 15,000-person capacity.
Garin struggled to win a point in the first two games, with Djokovic breaking for a 4-1 lead and clinching the opener without dropping another point in his service games.
After fending off two break points in the second set’s second game, Djokovic asserted his authority by putting pressure on Garin’s serve and claiming the decisive break by winning the final three games.
The 25-year-old Chilean entered the match with a 5-5 win-loss record on grass, and there was never any danger of that changing. Djokovic sped through the third set with two more serve breaks, winning in one hour and 49 minutes.
Djokovic has not dropped a set at the championships since losing the opener in the first round to British teenager Jack Draper.
“My confidence level is very high after winning the French Open. That was one of the biggest wins under those circumstances, particularly in the second week. It took a lot out of me but at the same time it gave me wings.
“The further the tournament goes, I feel like I am more confident on grass and I look forward to the next challenge,” Djokovic added.
Federer moves through the gears
The sixth seed Federer will turn 40 next month, but his attitude toward success in the sport where he built the majority of his legacy remains as youthful as ever.
A lack of court time in the previous 16 months due to a knee injury that necessitated two surgeries had many wondering how the Swiss would fare this fortnight.
This was another improved performance from the former world number one, who advanced to the SW19 men’s quarter-finals for the 18th time in a row.
Federer said, “When you’re young, you don’t ask yourself the question. But when you’re me, with the year I had, it’s all question marks all over the place. You have to prove it again to yourself that you can actually do it.
“It’s very rewarding and it’s a good feeling. Now we’ll see how much more I got left in the tank.”
The first set was delicately poised when a marathon 11th game was called due to a rain downpour, just as Sonego was about to fight off his fourth break point of the game.
After a 20-minute break for the Centre Court roof to be replaced, the Italian 23rd seed resumed with a double fault to hand over the lead – a cruel blow that left the fans gasping in sympathy.
Federer saved two break points before serving out the first set, then powered through the next two sets to win. “I felt after the first set I was able to control things,” Federer said.