Federer, S. Williams advance to Wimbledon 4th round
AP Sports Writer
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) – When Roger Federer misfired on an important shot Friday, his knees buckled and he stomped behind the baseline, miffed at his mere mortality.
The moment quickly passed, and Federer advanced to the second week at Wimbledon by beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-1.
Federer lost a set for first time this week, with two errant forehands costing him the tiebreaker. That merely extended his Centre Court workout by half an hour.
“It has been a good first week,” he said. “Pretty convincing. I thought this was my best match of the tournament, even though I dropped a set.”
Federer earned a berth in the fourth round Monday against a familiar foe – Robin Soderling. Federer beat Soderling in the French Open final this month to complete a career Grand Slam and win his 14th major title, tying Pete Sampras’ record.
Now the No. 2-seeded Federer seeks his sixth Wimbledon title, and he’s a heavy favorite with defending champion Rafael Nadal absent because of bad knees.
“It’s down to business in the second week,” Federer said. “This is where it gets really interesting.”
While Federer played on Centre Court, where the new retractable roof remained open for the fifth consecutive day, two-time champion Serena Williams was assigned to Court 2 and arrived six minutes late for her match. Otherwise Williams remained right on schedule, beating Roberta Vinci 6-3, 6-4.
Fourth-seeded Novak Djokovic, who could face Federer in the semifinals, defeated American Mardy Fish 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
Federer could have won more quickly. He converted only seven of 22 break-point chances and led 4-2 in the third set, before the No. 32-ranked Kohlschreiber played his best stretch of tennis.
Federer’s rare display of frustration came after he pulled an easy forehand wide trailing 5-4 in the tiebreaker. Two points later, Kohlschreiber ripped a backhand winner to force a fourth set, but Federer pulled away from there and extended his winning streak to 15 matches, his longest in two years.
“Sure, I would have loved to win in straight sets, but he came back strong,” Federer said. “I was happy how I reacted. I didn’t panic.”
Soderling reached the fourth round for the first time in seven appearances at Wimbledon by defeating Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7), 6-4, 6-4. The Swede lost only three points on his first serve and never faced a break point.
Up next: Federer. Soderling has lost all 10 of their matches.
“It’s tough to play against Roger,” Soderling said. “I’ve played him 10 times, and after the match I never felt like I played well. But I mean, it’s not because of me. I think it’s because of him.”
Unseeded Dudi Sela became the first Israeli man in 20 years to reach the fourth round when he beat No. 15 Tommy Robredo 7-6 (8), 7-5, 2-6, 7-5. The 22nd-seeded Ivo Karlovic hit 46 aces, the last on match point, to upset No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5).
In women’s play, 19-year-old Victoria Azarenka made a successful Centre Court debut by beating Sorana Cirstea 7-6 (2), 6-3. Gisela Dulko, who upset 2004 champion Maria Sharapova in the second round, was eliminated by No. 10 Nadia Petrova 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Seventh-seeded Vera Zvonareva, slowed by an ankle injury since April, pulled out before her match against No. 26 Virginie Razzano. Fourth-seeded Elena Dementieva, a semifinalist last year, cruised past qualifier Regina Kulikova 6-1, 6-2.
Williams’ tardy arrival inspired brief speculation she might be a no-show. Once that ended, so did the prospect of an upset against Vinci.
Williams said she was late heading to the court at the south end of the club because she was awaiting an escort.
“I thought someone was going to come get me,” she said. “I was waiting and waiting. Finally I was like, ‘OK, I think I’m just going to go out.’ I’m used to someone coming and saying, ‘OK, let’s go.”‘
The mix-up didn’t rattle Williams, who hit 10 aces and committed only 12 unforced errors to win for the 172nd time in 200 Grand Slam matches. The only other active woman to play so many matches in major tournaments is her sister, five-time Wimbledon champion Venus (219).
The No. 2-seeded Serena used her penetrating strokes to push Vinci around the court. One time the Italian scrambled to retrieve a shot in the corner several steps beyond the lines, then stood helpless as Williams hit a winner into the other corner.
Williams’ opponent in the round of 16 Monday will be Daniela Hantuchova, who beat doubles partner Ai Sugiyama 6-4, 6-3. Williams is 6-1 against Hantuchova.
“She’s such a smooth player,” Williams said. “I have to make sure I don’t rush myself, because she is playing well, and I think she’s moving well. So I’m going to have to really bring a tough game.”