Federer matches Navratilov­a’s mark

- Nick McCarvel @NickMcCarv­el Special for USA TODAY Sports

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND Roger Federer would like to make more history this Wimbledon fortnight with a record 18th Grand Slam title, but Monday he settled for another best-ever mark in major tennis.

The Swiss 34-year-old skipped past American Steve Johnson 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 on Centre Court, which gave him his 306th win in a Grand Slam event, equaling that of Martina Navratilov­a, the two winningest players at this stage.

Federer moves to 306-50 while Navratilov­a finished her career 306-49.

“It’s probably going to be something I’m happy I achieved looking back when it’s all said and done, ( but) I didn’t even know I was playing for that,” Federer said. “It’s great news ... but it’s not something I ever chased. I never thought I was going to have such a great career ... since I turned up at Wimbledon in 1998.”

The No. 3 seed next faces Marin Cilic, whom he lost to in the U.S. Open semifinals, in the final eight for a shot at the Wimbledon trophy, with top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic out of their way. It would be the first major title of any kind for Federer in four years, having won his 17th here in 2012.

Cilic won against a not-so-well Kei Nishikori on Monday, leading 6-1, 5-1 when the Japanese player was forced to withdraw because of injury.

Federer’s 306th win at a Grand Slam came a day after Serena Williams won her 300th match at this level.

All 16 fourth-round matches on the men’s and women’s singles side were set for Monday, with the women’s quarterfin­als scheduled for Tuesday and the men Wednesday.

Sam Querrey, the American who stunned Djokovic in the third round, kept his fairy-tale run alive with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 triumph against grass-court guru Nicolas Mahut. He is on the top half of the draw with Federer and Cilic, and faces No. 6 seed Milos Raonic, who came back from a two-set deficit to beat David Goffin 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Raonic has brought on John McEnroe in an advising role for the grasscourt season.

It’s Querrey’s first quarterfin­al in 38 Grand Slam appearance­s.

Querrey is the first U.S. man into the last eight here since Mardy Fish in 2011. The 28-yearold ranked No. 41 in the world had lost both of his previous meetings against Mahut, a veteran at 34.

The last time an American man reached the quarterfin­al of any Slam was 2011, when John Isner and Andy Roddick went as far in the U.S. Open.

“For me, the win was really exciting,” Querrey told reporters about his victory against Djokovic. “But my match today, I was playing for my first (Grand Slam) quarterfin­al, so I was playing for something else. There was still something exciting, kind of like another carrot on the line for me to play for. I really just wanted to focus in and play the best I can. Today everything really clicked. I thought I did everything really well today.”

Lucas Pouille, a 22-year-old from France, joined Querrey as a first-time Grand Slam quarterfin­alist. He beat Bernard Tomic in five sets.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga got a pass from countryman Richard Gasquet into the quarterfin­als, Gasquet retiring 4-2 down in the first set with an injury.

Home favorite Andy Murray survived mostly unscathed against rising star Nick Kyrgios, winning 7-5, 6-1, 6-4. The two split the first 11 games before Murray broke for the first time to capture the first set, then hardly looked back. Kyrgios, one of the game’s most controvers­ial figures, was not able to test the 2013 Wimbledon champion the way many thought he would.

Federer was at his ball-striking best against Johnson, who had come in with a eight-match winning streak on grass having won a first career title at Nottingham. The 26-year-old former Southern California standout (a twotime NCAA champ) was no match for Federer, however, who crunched 35 winners and went 33-for-40 on net approaches.

Is this the great chance for another Federer major? Djokovic is out of a Grand Slam draw before the quarterfin­als for the first time since 2009, and rival Rafael Nadal has skipped the event because of a wrist injury. At 34, Federer has made no plans to retire, but he was stopped in the finals by Djokovic here in 2014 and last year, as well as the 2015 U.S. Open.

Federer has struggled in 2016, tearing the meniscus in his knee in an accident at home in February and then missing Indian Wells. He got sick the next week in Miami, withdrawin­g there, and missed the French Open because of a bad back, his first Grand Slam absence since the 1999 U.S. Open, breaking a record streak of 65 majors played.

If Federer is to find his fire, this is the time to do it. He’d like more history next to his name with that 18th Grand Slam, never done in the Open era.

 ?? FACUNDO ARRIZABALA­GA, EPA ?? Roger Federer was 33-for-40 at the net in his win Monday.
FACUNDO ARRIZABALA­GA, EPA Roger Federer was 33-for-40 at the net in his win Monday.

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