Elite holding serve
Continued success from the top four men players in the world has set up a classic middle Monday at Wimbledon with the elite group all moving into the fourth round together. No one is less surprised than Roger Federer (above), chasing a record eighth trophy at the All England club. The No. 3 seed headlines the jam-packed start of week two at Wimbledon as he plays Grigor Dimitrov for a quarterfinal place.
LONDON — Continued success from the top four men players in the world has set up a classic middle Monday at Wimbledon with the elite group all moving into the fourth round together.
No one is less surprised than 35-year-old Roger Federer, chasing a record eighth trophy at the All England club. The Swiss third seed headlines the jam-packed start of week two at Wimbledon as he plays Grigor Dimitrov for a quarterfinal place.
“I think it’s great. I’m not that surprised because I thought that everybody this week was going to find their form, especially speaking about Andy and Novak. So I thought they did it very well,” Federer said. “With me, I hoped I was going to be there. Whereas with Rafa’s confidence, I thought he was also going to be there.
“It’s important to get through to the second week,” the 18-time Grand Slam winner continued. “It’s always a good feeling. The first goal at every Grand Slam is to get into the second week. I’ve done that again. I’ll be happy to relax a day [Sunday] and come back strong on Monday.”
Unlike Roland Garros, which takes 15 days to actually complete the French Open, Wimbledon’s master schedule’s manage to get the job done in 13.
The middle Sunday has traditionally been “quiet time” for the club’s upscale suburban neighbors in southwest London.
Federer has won all five meetings with Dimitrov, but they have never played on grass.
“He’s in the prime of his career you would think right now,” Federer said. “I expect that every time I have played him he has become better. I expect the same on Monday.”
Rafael Nadal, seeded fourth, has so far carried the devastating clay form which took him to an historic 10th title at Roland Garros onto the grass.
The Spaniard takes on ace threat Gilles Muller with Nadal winning their only grass match in 2011 at Wimbledon.
Nadal is keen for a continuation of the hot dry conditions of the first week, but some light rain is also forecast to intrude.
The 15-time Grand Slam winner was taking it easy on Sunday.
“I’ll relax at home with my
family, maybe watch some golf, maybe some films with my small cousins. Maybe play some football with them. That’s all,” he said.
Second seed Novak Djokovic faces Adrian Mannarino with major coaching help from Andre Agassi and former Croatian player Mario Ancic.
“Mannarino is in good form — I am, too,” Djokovic said. “He’s lefty with a good slice serve and a very tricky game. He beat [Gael] Monfils, reached the fourth round. The matches are only going to get tougher as the tournament progresses.”
Top seed Andy Murray remains a question mark, though the two-time champion seems have overcome a hip injury and is managing to win — but he is the only player in the top group to drop a set so far.
Murray takes on Frenchman Benoit Paire standing 2-0 in the series.
“I’ve got time to work on some things, rest up a little bit, and get used to the conditions that we’re playing in just now,” Murray said. “The courts definitely have gotten a lot quicker than at the beginning of the event. It will be good to get a couple days’ practice in those conditions before another match on Monday. But I’m pleased obviously to be in the second week. Anything can happen from here.”
Also in the day’s line-up: 2016 finalist Milos Raonic against German 10th seed Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic taking on Roberto Bautista Agut and eighth seed Dominic Thiem playing experienced Tomas Berdych.
Among the women, it’s another day of stress for Angelique Kerber as the German struggles to hold onto her top ranking with a match against former French Open winner Garbine Muguruza.
“Being in the second week is always nice. It’s always a goal when you start a grand slam,” Kerber said. “But it’s another day, another match. We are all starting from zero. It’s a great day for the fans, but also for us players.”
Kerber’s ranking rival Simona Halep (playing Victoria Azarenka) will need a victory to maintain her challenge.
Fourth seed Elina Svitolina plays Roland Garros holder Jelena Ostapenko, former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki faces Coco Vandeweghe and Brit Johanna Konta aims for personal Wimbledon history in a match with Caroline Garcia.