Prime Sports, International Sport, Tennis, Wimbledon (London, England), July 6:- Excitement and adoration greeted every point claimed by Roger Federer — “aaahs” and applause for a sliced backhand return or a 94 mph sliding wide ace, an unreachable drop volley or a forehand flicked suddenly and ferociously.
It all got to be too much for his opponent at the All England Club, No. 23 seed Lorenzo Sonego. So in the latter stages of his 7-5, 6-4, 6-2 loss to the eight-time champion, Sonego would win a point and mark the occasion by waving his arms to ask the crowd for some love, as if to say, “Hey, I’m here, too, OK?”
The match was the last at Centre Court on what was Wimbledon’s last Manic Monday: As of next year, no longer will all 16 women’s and men’s fourth-round singles matches be scheduled on one day, a tradition vanishing along with that of a Middle Sunday without any play. And yet, amid all the chaos of a packed schedule, one could be forgiven for imagining Federer held the stage to himself.
He’s coming off a pair of knee operations last season and he’s participating in a Grand Slam tournament for the last time before turning 40. So who knows how many of these he has left? Even Federer himself didn’t really know what he would be able to muster this fortnight.
The raucous support he received created a more vibrant atmosphere than at other contests spread around the grounds, whether involving victories for past title winners Novak Djokovic and Angelique Kerber — she ended 17-year-old American Coco Gauff’s run — or for one of the 11 players who earned a debut trip to the quarterfinals at the grass-court major.
The main stadium’s retractable roof was shut when rain arrived late in the first set, a delay of more than 20 minutes that, not incidentally, was followed by an immediate double-fault by Sonego on break point to fall behind 6-5.
That was the only opening Federer really needed as he moved into his record-extending 18th quarterfinal at Wimbledon. At 39, with his milestone birthday arriving Aug. 8, Federer is the oldest Wimbledon quarterfinalist in the Open era, which began in 1968.
Djokovic made it to his 12th quarterfinal at the All England Club while continuing his pursuit of a calendar-year Grand Slam, never troubled a bit while defeating No. 17 Cristian Garín 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.
“It’s not a secret that I am trying to win as many Slams as possible,” said the top-seeded Djokovic, who needs to win three more matches this week to equal the men’s record of 20 major singles titles currently shared by Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Korda’s take? “I don’t know what was happening out there,” said the son of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr and brother of the No. 1 women’s golfer at the moment, Nelly.
Khachanov meets Shapovalov on Wednesday, while Berrettini faces Auger-Aliassime.
Federer doesn’t know his next opponent. That’s because the match between two-time major finalist Daniil Medvedev and Hubert Hurkacz was suspended because of rain in the fourth set at No. 2 Court, which doesn’t have a roof.
The women’s quarterfinals are Tuesday: No. 1 Ash Barty vs. Alja Tomljanovic; Kerber vs. Karolina Muchova; Karolina Pliskova vs. Viktorija Golubic, and Aryna Sabalenka vs. Ons Jabeur. (MR, Inputs: Agencies)