Defending champion Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal closed in on a dream Wimbledon final as the sport’s two greatest players swept into the last-eight yesterday.
Eight-time champion Federer needed just 16 minutes to win the opening set on his way to a 6-0, 7-5, 6-4 defeat of France’s Adrian Mannarino to reach his 16th All England Club quarter-final.
World number one Nadal, the two-time champion, reached his first quarter-final at Wimbledon since 2011 — when he went on to finish runner-up — with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win over Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic.
Federer will be playing in his 53rd Grand Slam last-eight when he tackles Kevin Anderson, the eighth-seeded South African.
Top seed Federer, 36, has now won 32 consecutive sets at Wimbledon, just two behind his record set from the third round in 2005 to his title triumph in 2006.
He has also held serve for 81 successive games at the tournament, a run stretching back the first set of his semi-final win against Tomas Berdych in 2017.
“It was crucial for him to stay in the match at the beginning of the second set and then it got tougher,” said 20-time major winner Federer.
“You always tend to play better against better players and I’m happy to be back in the second week of Wimbledon.”
Federer boasts a 4-0 career record against 2017 US Open runner-up Anderson, who reached the quarter-finals for the first time with a 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/2), 5-7, 7-6 (7/4) win over France’s Gael Monfils.
Anderson is the first South African man in the Wimbledon last-eight since Wayne Ferreira in 1994.
Nadal, like Federer yet to drop a set, routed world number 93 Vesely on the eve of the Czech player’s 25th birthday.
Monday’s win took Nadal, 32, into a 35th Grand Slam quarterfinal.
“It was an important victory as since 2011 I have not been in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon. So it’s an important moment,” said Nadal, the 17-time Grand Slam champion who has made four successive quarter-finals at the majors for the first time in six years.
“He started to play better from the base line, I made a couple of mistakes in the service game I lost (at 3-4 in the third set) but I feel I came back straight away. That was key.”
Next up for Nadal is either Juan Martin del Potro, the fifth seeded Argentine, or unseeded Gilles Simon of France.