The "big three" of men's tennis cruised into the quarterfinals at Wimbledon on Monday, as World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 2 Rafael Nadal and No. 3 Roger Federer each recorded easy straight-set wins in their fourth-round matchups at the All England Club.
Djokovic, seeded No. 1, defeated Frenchman Ugo Humbert 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 to reach his 11th Wimbledon quarterfinal. The Serbian broke four times vs. the 21-year-old Humbert, who was making his Wimbledon debut and playing in his first Grand Slam fourth round.
Djokovic next will face No. 21 seed David Goffin of Belgium, who beat Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (9), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Federer, seeded No. 2, eased past No. 17 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. The Swiss took only 17 minutes to win his first set and needed just 73 minutes total to earn his sixth straight Wimbledon quarterfinals appearance and 17th overall.
He hasn't had to work overtime on the court at Wimbledon -- he lost just one set in the first four rounds -- and was thankful for Monday's quick match.
"I think you can always lose a grand slam in that first week -- you can't win it. So if you can get through with having enough energy in the tank as the big matches roll around, it's obviously a bonus but at the same time the mindset has to be, ‘Can you play seven times five sets?' That's what I train hard for and when it doesn't happen, those five-setters, in a way you're relieved even though five-setters are always sort of memorable and iconic and cool to play, but for the body it is nice to avoid those at all costs," he said.
Federer next faces No. 8 Kei Nishikori of Japan, who ousted Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. This will be Nishikori's fifth consecutive appearance in a Grand Slam quarterfinal. The only other players to have made the last eight in each of those events are Djokovic and Nadal.
Federer is aiming to break his own record by winning his ninth Wimbledon title, but he's going for another milestone first: A win over Nishikori would mark Federer's 100th Wimbledon victory, making him the first player in the Open Era with 100 match wins at a Grand Slam event.
"I'm very happy, I've really gotten into a great groove now and I think today I was really able to read his serve a little bit, get enough returns back in play and take control from the baseline, so I thought it was a great match," Federer said.
Nadal, the No. 3 seed, rolled past Portugal's Joao Sousa 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 45 minutes and advanced to his eighth straight Grand Slam quarterfinal and 39th overall in majors. His quarterfinals streak is his longest since a run of 11 straight that stretched from the 2009 U.S. Open through Roland Garros in 2012.
Nadal next faces unseeded Sam Querrey, who defeated fellow American Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 6-7 (9), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) in two hours and 57 minutes to reach his third Wimbledon quarterfinal.
"When he plays well, he can be very, very dangerous on all surfaces," Nadal said of Querrey. "But of course, on fast surfaces, when he serves with his aggressive game, (he is) maybe more (dangerous)."
Also Monday, No. 23 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain defeated No. 28 seed Benoit Paire of France 6-3, 7-5, 6-2. Bautista Agut will face No. 26 seed Guido Pella of Argentina, who rallied from two sets down to upset 15th-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3), 8-6.
--Field Level Media