Third seed Roger Federer’s quest for a record eighth Wimbledon title continued with a 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-4 over 27th seed Mischa Zverev. The Swiss defeated the German for a third time this year and second in a major.
Zverev’s old-school serve-and-volley game was always destined to work on grass and he was much more competitive than the Australian Open quarterfinals, when the German won only eight games.
His serve was under pressure from the start, trailing 15-30 in the second game, but escaping trouble to hold. Not as fortunate in the fourth game, it was Federer who produced scintillating backhand winners to break for a 3-1 lead.
After not so much as a sniff on the Swiss’ serve, opportunity presented itself in the seventh game, breaking from 30-0 down with some good forehands. Now back on serve at 4-3, t27th seed was in a zone now and he had a break chance at 5-5, erased with a timely ace from Federer.
As they did in Halle last month, the opening set would go to a tiebreak, Federer taking the initiative, the minibreak claimed with a forehand down the line for a 2-0 lead. He got to 6-3 with a volley winner and on set point watched as Zverev’s volley sailed long to take a one-set lead.
The second set saw Zverev continuing to struggle with Federer’s serve and that in turn created more pressure on his own serve, which would prove to be too much. After saving a break point at 1-1 with an ace, the German was powerless whilst watching the Swiss’ forehand fly by him for yet another winner and a 2-1 lead.
It was almost a double break lead for the world number three as he faced break point trailing 3-1, but a good serve out wide saved his skin. The eighth game continued to showcase the power and strength of Federer’s forehand and it buoyed him to a 5-3 lead.
After a hold to love, Federer served for the set and on set point the seven-time Wimbledon championed produced another forehand winner down the line to claim a two sets to love lead, a set away from the fourth round.
After both men held to 15 to begin the third set, it was Zverev who cracked first as he double-faulted on break point to hand Federer the lead at 2-1. Again, a double break was in sight for the 18-time major champion, but once again, the German’s serving kept him within touch.
The serve-and-volley game that the elder Zverev is known for was beginning to improve, but it was much too late to produce a comeback and at 5-4, Federer served for the match, getting to 30-0 and then producing consecutive aces to wrap up the victory and seal his 15th second week appearance at The Championships.
Federer next faces a man often compared to him, 13th seed Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian has looked awfully good and will provide the Swiss with his first true test of the tournament.