Novak Djokovic fended off a brief challenge from Ernests Gulbis to reach the Wimbledon last 16 yesterday as women’s top seed Angelique Kerber scraped into the business end of the championships.
Djokovic was a break down in the first set and was taken to a tie break in the third but beat Gulbis 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (7/2) on Centre Court, before Roger Federer took on Mischa Zverev.
“I’m delighted with the performance. I thought I raised the level of tennis,” said three-time champion Djokovic after making the second week without dropping a set.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer stayed on course for a record eighth Wimbledon title with a 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-4 victory over German serve-volley expert Mischa Zverev.
The 35-year-old Swiss is looking to become the oldest man in the professional era to win the title and has not dropped a set in his opening three encounters at this year’s tournament.
World number 30, Zverev, who had not beaten Federer in four previous attempts, hoped to upset the 18-times grand slam champion by doggedly following his serve into the net, but had only limited success.
He forced a tiebreak in the first set, which Federer won without losing a point on serve, and then the Swiss took control, breaking once in each of the next two sets before wrapping up victory with an ace.
Elsewhere in yesterday’s third round ties, Kerber looked mightily relieved after saving her world number one status in a tense 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 win over US world number 70 Shelby Rogers.
The German star was a break down in the second set but did just enough to claw her way into tomorrow’s fourth round where she will face Garbine Muguruza. Agnieszka Radwanska also had to come from behind in her third round tie, while in the men’s draw, last year’s beaten finalist Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov made it through — as did Sam Querrey, who took one game to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Their match was suspended Friday at 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 1-6, 6-5 due to bad light, with the French 12th seed not wanting to field Querrey’s returns of serve in the gloom.
They came back Saturday but it was all over in minutes as the US 24th seed broke serve.“My opponent was good today. He did three, four good shots, and yeah, that’s it,” said Tsonga.
Canadian sixth seed Raonic downed Spain’s 25th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 7-5 to book a fourth round spot against Alexander Zverev.
The German 10th seed beat Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
Bulgarian 13th seed Dimitrov had an easy ride when Israeli Sela was forced to pull out at 6-1, 6-1 down after struggling with a right thigh injury that required treatment during the match.
The 2008 Wimbledon junior champion will next face meet either Federer.
Tomas Berdych, the 2010 beaten finalist, beat David Ferrer in straight sets. The Czech 11th seed will play either Austrian eighth seed Dominic Thiem or Jared Donaldson of the United States tomorrow.
The deft Radwanska, the 2012 beaten finalist, came back from a set down to beat Swiss 19th seed Timea Bacsinszky 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 on Centre Court.
“I expected a lot of tricky shots from her and a lot of entertaining rallies,” said the Polish ninth seed.
Radwanska next faces Russian eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2004 US and 2009 French Open champion, who cruised through with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Slovenian qualifier Polona Hercog.
Croatia’s Petra Martic, ranked 135, is the last qualifier still going at Wimbledon after beating Kazakh wild card Zarina Diyas 7-6 (8/6), 6-1.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the third round match against Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis at Wimbledon yesterday.