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Federer and Djokovic through on otherwise surprising Manic Monday at Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his round of 16 match against Cristian Garin at the Wimbledon Championships, 05 July 2021. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL

By Ricky Dimon

Seven men have advanced to the Wimbledon quarterfinals, and only two have ever been this far before at the All-England Club.

They are the usual suspects: Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Federer and Djokovic took care of their fourth-round matches at the season’s third slam, just as they have often done so often in the past. For everyone else, winning on Manic Monday was a new experience. The two all-time greats are joined in the last eight by Marton Fucsovics, Denis Shapovalov, Karen Khachanov, Matteo Berrettini, and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

There was nothing “manic” about the day’s entire order of play on Centre Court. Sandwiching Angelique Kerber’s straight-set win over Coco Gauff, Djokovic defeated Cristian Garin 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 and Federer disposed of Lorenzo Sonego 7-5, 6-4, 6-2. The minimum of eight total sets were played on the most famous court in tennis and not even a single one required a tiebreaker.

Federer, especially, was thrilled to win in straight sets–only the second time in four matches he has done so throughout this fortnight.

Roger Federer celebrates winning his 4th round match against Lorenzo Sonegoat at the Wimbledon Championships, July 2021. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL

‘We’ll see how much more I [have] left in the tank,” the 39-year-old Swiss said. “Clearly (it) was important again to win in straight sets. (I’m) looking forward to the next round.”

Next up for Federer is either Daniil Medvedev or Hubert Hurkacz. Their match was rained out on Court 2 with Medvedev leading two sets to one; it will resume on Centre Court early on Tuesday. Whoever wins will be a sixth first-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist on the men’s side.

Two of those first-timers pulled off especially big upsets on Monday. Fucsovics took down Andrey Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, while Auger-Aliassime ousted Alexander Zverev 6-4, 7-6(6), 3-6, 3-6, 6-4. The only other five-setter saw Khachanov outlast Sebastian Korda 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 10-8. An absolutely ridiculous fifth set featured 13 breaks of serve. Korda twice went up by break before Khachanov unsuccessfully tried to serve out the match three times. The Russian finally succeeded on his fourth chance at 9-8.

Auger-Aliassime has struggled with nerves on various occasions in the early stages of his career, but he needed only one chance to serve it out against Zverev. An impressive hold at 5-4 in the fifth sent the 20-year-old Canadian through to his first major quarterfinal.

“It’s a dream come true,” Auger-Aliassime told the crowd during his post-match interview. “It’s unbelievable; it’s what you dream of. I’m just a normal guy from Montreal, Canada and here I am: Court 1, Wimbledon. It was surely the best win of my life.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.