Wimbledon - Federer finds form to reach last 16

Fri, 25 Jun 18:55:00 2010

Roger Federer finally rediscovered some of the graceful touches that has helped him to six Wimbledon titles when he eased past Arnaud Clement 6-2 6-4 6-2 in their third-round clash.

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After two decidedly un-Federer-like performances so far this campaign the Swiss maestro hit the ground running from the off against a man who had beaten him in both their previous Grand Slam meetings.

Federer broke the French world number 86 in the opening game and reeled off the first two sets in little over an hour, and settled it after 95 minutes when the Frenchman netted.

He will play 16th seed Jurgen Melzer for a place in the quarter-finals, after the Austrian battled past 22nd-seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic showed the full array of stroke-making needed to go deep into the second week against Albert Montanes, crushing the Spaniard 6-1 6-4 6-4.

Djokovic, whose one semi-final here is a poor return on his fine all-round game, never took his foot off the throttle against the 28th seed, racing through the opener in just 26 minutes with some neat drops and athletic volleys.

Another blockbusting serve, he struck 11 aces, settled it in Djokovic's favour after an hour and 41 minutes when Montanes spooned his backhand return wide.

The third seed now plays Australia's Lleyton Hewitt, keen to avenge Serbia's defeat by Australia in the World Cup.

Former champion Hewitt bludgeoned his way into the fourth round with a dogged 6-3 7-6 6-4 victory over the Frenchman Gael Monfils

Hewitt, the most successful active grass-court player with 101 victories, has been brimful of confidence since breaking his 15-match losing streak against Roger Federer in the pre-Wimbledon tournament at Halle.

Hewitt, whose pregnant wife Bec cheered him on a sunbaked Centre Court, served superbly and dominated the longer rallies against the gangling 21st seed.

But he had one minor blip cruising to victory in the third set when he let Monfils back in briefly.

The 15th seed was backed by his faithful fan club chanting "If you love Lleyton, clap your hands." The Centre Court duly obliged.

The Australian lost just three points on his serve in the first set. Monfils, bidding to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time, served a string of aces but struggled to better Hewitt in the rallies.

The second set was decided in a nervy tiebreak strewn with errors. It was a real thriller. Monfils had three set points. Hewitt finally prevailed on his third 11-9.

In the third set, Hewitt raced to a 4-1 lead before Monfils pulled back to 4-4 and even had a break point for 5-4 despite being troubled by his left knee.

But the Australian veteran then steadied against the inconsistent Frenchman, breaking his serve at 5-4 to land a solid victory and a clash next week with Djokovic.

Sixth seed Andy Roddick came through another potentially tricky encounter when his ever reliable serve helped him to a 7-5 6-7 6-3 6-3 victory over Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Kohlscheriber, the 29th seed, has a game well suited to grass and the two battled out two tight first sets. The German recovered from 4-5 0-40 in the second to save that game and claim the tie-break on his first set point.

Roddick, who lost his third final to Roger Federer 12 months ago, retained his focus the better and sealed victory with another thunderbolt ace in just under three hours.

As always, Roddick's serve was his most devastating weapon.

He served 28 aces to just 13 from the determined German who refused to be bowed by the American's big guns.

But as the sun set over Wimbledon, Roddick finished off in style, thumping down a 137mph ace to clinch a match against Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun for a place in the quarter-finals.

British crowds have taken Roddick to their hearts this year, remembering how he fought so hard against Federer before surrendering 16-14 in the last set of an epic final last year.

He acknowledged their cheers, saluting every corner of the court afterwards.

Now he is just hoping that history will repeat itself.

Croatian Goran Ivanisevic is the only man apart from Roddick to have reached three finals in the Open era without winning any of them. He finally won on his fourth attempt in 2001.

The American will next face Lu Yen-Hsun, who progressed when Germay's Florian Mayer retired hurt whilst trailing 6-4 6-4 2-1.

Reuters

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