The defending champion Andy Murray and seven time champion Roger Federer have safely progressed to their 10th and 15th quarter finals respectively at Wimbledon after both came through in straight sets on center court on Manic Monday. The 2013 and 2016 champion Murray struggled initially in the first set, but once it was claimed in the tie-break, the result was never in doubt as he beat the unseeded Frenchman Benoit Paire 7-6(1), 6-4, 6-4. Both players dropped their serve twice in the first set before Murray raised his game to claim the tie-break. The flashy Frenchman hit 50 winners but also had 44 unforced errors which cost him dearly.
Roger Federer was in majestic form against the 13th seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria as he took only 97 minutes to advance with a 6-4, 6-2,6-4 win. The third seeded Federer dropped serve only once while serving at 4-3 in the third set, but broke right away. He was not to be denied second time in asking as he held serve to 15 in the tenth game.
The 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia who blew match point to Federer in last years quarter finals, was in devastating form as he beat the 18th seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 in exactly 100 minutes. Cilic dropped serve only once in the entire match and converted on seven out of nine break points he had in the match.
The lone American left in the draw, 24th seeded Sam Querrey wasted four match points in the fourth set tie-break but regrouped to beat the South African Kevin Anderson 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-7(11), 6-3. Both players served 31 aces apiece. Querrey won his second consecutive five set match, having beaten the Frenchman Jo Wilfred Tsonga in five sets in the third round. He next plays Murray.
Sixth seeded Milos Raonic of Canada ended the hopes of the tenth seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany as he clawed his way back from a 1-2 deficit in sets to win 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 to set up a rematch of his semi final against Federer. Raonic beat Federer in identical fashion last year to advance to his first grand slam final which he lost to Andy Murray in straight sets.
The 2010 runner up Tomas Berdych has also advanced to the quarter final after beating the eighth seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours and fifty two minutes. Berdych who lost to Andy Murray in the semi finals last year converted on only three out of thirteen break point chances but it was just enough as the eleventh seed from the Czech Republic advanced. He awaits the winner of the match between the second seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia, a former three time champion and the left handed Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
In what was the only surprise result of the day, 33 year old Giles Muller of Luxembourg, just like he did twelve years ago in 2005, ended the title hopes of Rafael Nadal after a marathon four hour forty eight minute match on court no. 1. The sixteenth seeded Muller blew four match points before finally prevailing 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13 over the fourth seeded Nadal.
The Mallorcan who had won the French Open for a record 10th time last month taking his grand slam tally to 15, would have regained number one ranking if he reached the final. Nadal could convert on only 2 out of 16 break point chances, while Muller converted three out of eight. Muller had 30 aces, Nadal hit 23. Nadal won 198 points in the entire match, while Muller won 191 points. Muller hit 95 winners, Nadal had 77.
Following is the line up for the quarter final in the men’s singles to be played on Wednesday with my pick mentioned first :-
Andy Murray (1) v. Sam Querrey (24); Murray leads 7-1.
Roger Federer (3) v. Milos Raonic (6); Federer leads 9-3.
Marin Cilic (7) v. Gilles Muller (16); Cilic leads 2-0
Tomas Berdych (11) will play the winner of Novak Djokovic(2) v. Adrian Mannarino (-)
Djokovic leads Berdych 25-2. Berdych leads Mannarino 4-0. Expect Djokovic to reach last four.
Five time former champion Venus Williams breezed into the quarter finals with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Ana Konjuh of Croatia as she opened up the proceedings on a busy day. The 37 year old elder sibling of Serena Williams who is absent on maternity leave, never lost her serve in the sixty three minute match.
The tenth seed will now take on the reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia who was too strong for the fourth seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina. The 13th seeded Ostapenko won 6-3, 7-6(6). Svitolina rallied from 2-5 down in the second set and also saved two match points in the tie-break before the 20 year old Ostapenko playing her third Wimbledon came through in one hour forty three minutes.
In a major upset, top seeded German Angelique Kerber, the runner up last year was beaten by the Spaniard Garbine Muguruza runner up in 2015. The 14th seeded Muguruza, winner of the 2016 French Open won 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and eighteen minutes. She next faces Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova who had a surprisingly easy 6-2, 6-4 win over the 2012 runner up Agnieska Radwanska of Poland 6-2,6-4.
The sixth seeded Johanna Konta kept British hopes alive with a hard fought 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4 win over the 21st seeded Caroline Garcia of France on court no. 1. The 26 year old born in Sydney, Australia now faces a big test against the second seeded Simona Halep of Romania who overcame a slow start to beat the former world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 7-6(3), 6-2.
Azarenka, playing her first tournament after returning to the circuit following the birth of her first child, could not consolidate on an early break of serve in the first set. She did not go down without a fight in the second set where she was in grave danger of being bageled.
Another former world number one Caroline Wozniacki’s campaign has ended in familiar disappointment after a 6-7(4),4-6 loss to the 24th seeded Coco Vandeweghe of U.S.A. The fifth seed from Denmark appearing in her fifth round of 16 match at Wimbledon was beaten in one hour and thirty seven minutes. Vandeweghe next takes on the Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova who continued her dream run after coming back from a long layoff due to injury with a hard fought 6-4,2-6,6-3 win over Petra Martic of Croatia.
Following is the quarter final line up in the women’s singles with my pick mentioned first :-
Svetlana Kuznetsova (7) v. Garbine Muguruza (14); Muguruza leads 3-1.
Magdalena Rybarikova (-) v. Coco Vandeweghe (24); Rybarikova leads 2-0.
Jelena Ostapenko (13) v. Venus Williams (10) ; first meeting.
Johanna Konta (6) v. Simona Halep (2) ; Konta leads 2-0.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]