07242017

Wimbledon 2017: Roger Federer & Novak Djokovic through to fourth round

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5 best shots – Djokovic v Gulbis

Former champions Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic were in impressive form as they reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in straight sets.

Third seed Federer played superbly in a 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 6-4 win over German 27th seed Mischa Zverev on Centre Court.

Djokovic, seeded second, had earlier looked fired up as he beat Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis 6-4 6-1 7-6 (7-2).

Federer will play Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov and Djokovic faces Adrian Mannarino in the last 16 on Monday.

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Djokovic raises level and focus

An early argument with the umpire seemed to fire up Djokovic, who told the official to “focus” – something he later apologised for – and then appeared to take his own advice.

From a break of serve down at 4-2, the Serb powered into a 6-4 5-0 lead and had a set point for 10 straight games.

Gulbis, 28, clung on briefly but the second set soon disappeared and the Latvian then had lengthy treatment on his back.

Ranked down at 548 after a succession of injuries, the former world number 10 recovered sufficiently to earn a break point at the start of the third set.

Djokovic, a friend of Gulbis since their junior academy days in Germany, snuffed out the danger but required a tie-break to eventually see off the Latvian after two hours and 12 minutes.

“I am delighted with my performance today,” said Djokovic, 30.

“I thought I raised the level of tennis, comparing to the first couple of matches. This was the most focused I have been on the court and it came at the right time.”

Federer wins all-court battle

The 35-year-old Federer kept up the form that has seen him rated as the favourite to land a record eighth title, and first since 2012.

The Swiss played beautifully to overcome the attacking serve-volley game of Zverev, the man who beat Andy Murray in fourth round at the Australian Open in January.

Zverev pegged back Federer from 4-1 to earn a tie-break in the first set but a terrific backhand volley brought up set point for the seven-time champion and he duly converted.

A spectacular return game that included drive backhand and forehand winners gave Federer the crucial break early in the second set, and a Zverev double-fault gave up the initiative in the third.

A 27th win in 29 matches this year was wrapped up after one hour and 49 minutes, and the Swiss heads into week two in ideal shape.

“It’s important to get through the first week with a good feeling and I think I got that,” said Federer.

“The first match with the walkover saved me a lot of energy, crucial energy. We go one round at a time.

“The first goal is to get through to the second week and I am happy to sit back and relax and then come back on Monday.”

Analysis

Boris Becker, three-time champion and ex-coach of Djokovic:

For the first time in a while I see the passion back. Ultimately it’s about passion; how much you’re willing to sacrifice, how much you’re willing to invest to win and go far in the tournament. All these screams really are a sign that the passion is back. He wants to win desperately.

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