Federer bags more records as he downs Pouille to reach last 16

Sunday, 2019-07-07 07:10:14
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Switzerland's Roger Federer celebrates winning his third round match against France's Lucas Pouille - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 6, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)
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Roger Federer kept tennis statisticians on their toes on Saturday as he mopped up a few more records by trampling all over Lucas Pouille’s dreams in a rip-roaring 7-5 6-2 7-6(4) win to reach the fourth round of Wimbledon.

The Swiss became the first player - man or woman - to win 350 singles matches at the majors.

But as the father of two sets of twins, Federer seems to have a penchant for doing things in pairs and Saturday was no different as he also set a professional era record of reaching the last 16 for the 17th time - surpassing the previous benchmark he had shared with Jimmy Connors.

The Swiss is unlikely to be popping champagne corks to celebrate either milestone, however, as he has his eyes firmly set on much, much bigger prizes - a record ninth Challenge Cup and a 21st Grand Slam title.

To get closer to that, however, he will first have to negotiate his way past Italian 17th seed Matteo Berrettini.

Australian Open semi-finalist Pouille was cheered on by his coach Amelie Mauresmo as he played his part in an entertaining match that was more keenly contested than the score suggests but he bowed out after netting a backhand on Federer’s third match point.

Pouille had a break point at 3-3 in the first set and again at 5-5. A Federer in full flight had to hit three slam dunk smashes in a row to stay alive in the 11th game - an effort that lifted the roaring crowd to their feet.

Once he survived that mini wobble, he rolled through six successive games before Pouille unexpectedly ended the run by breaking the Federer serve. While it was not enough to rescue the second set, it gave the Frenchman the belief to fight on.

But sometimes belief is just not enough - especially when the man opposite you is closing in on a century of match wins at the All England Club - with Saturday being his 98th triumph.

Dominant Nadal brushes aside Tsonga

Spain's Rafael Nadal with France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after their third round match - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 6, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)

World number two Rafa Nadal was in ruthless form on Centre Court the same day as he marched into the fourth round with a 6-2 6-3 6-2 rout of France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The Spanish third seed was in command throughout the match and finished the contest in an hour and 48 minutes without conceding a single break point, sealing the result on his fourth match point with his 11th ace.

The victory was his 51st at the All England Club, equaling five-times champion Bjorn Borg in eighth place on the Open Era list for most Wimbledon men’s singles match wins.

Nadal broke early in the opening set to go 3-1 up as Tsonga struggled with his second serve, which allowed the Spaniard to control points and consistently approach the net to finish rallies.

Another break point at 5-2 opened the door for Nadal to attack Tsonga further and a whipped crosscourt forehand winner on set point gave the Spaniard the first set in 33 minutes.

Tsonga exhibited the odd flash of brilliance, with searing aces and a rare approach to the net after pushing Nadal behind the baseline, but a number of high-risk shots down the line did not come off for the Frenchman.

Tsonga’s serve deserted him at crucial moments, however, and a double-fault on break point in the second set gave Nadal a 4-2 lead, with the visibly frustrated 34-year-old Frenchman seen muttering to himself with helpless glances toward the players’ box.

Although Tsonga offered token resistance while serving to stay in the second set, Nadal served out the set by taking advantage of his opponent’s slower movement with pinpoint winners.

Despite the crowd urging the underdog on, Nadal earned a double break to consign Tsonga to defeat and book his place in the next round where he will face Portugal’s Joao Sousa or Briton Dan Evans.