Federer drops a set but still advances to fourth round at Wimbledon

Wimbledon, England (Sports Network) – Roger Federer dropped a set for the first time in this year’s Wimbledon but still advanced one step closer to his 15th major title with a third round victory at the All England Club Friday.

Federer, the de facto top seed after Rafael Nadal withdrew from the tournament, needed 2 hours, 31 minutes to defeat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1 on Centre Court, where the Swiss has won five of the last six championships here. In the all-time series between the two opponents, Federer has taken all four matches, although this was the first time they had met in a Grand Slam event.

After losing a tough tiebreaker in the third set — dropping Federer’s all- time Wimbledon tiebreaker record to 27-9 — the second-ranked Swiss superstar held serve and immediately broke Kohlschreiber for the sixth time to take the early lead in the fourth set. It was all he would need to cruise the rest of the way, breaking his opponent again in the set’s sixth game to cap off the win.

Although he posted seven breaks of serve, Federer was surprisingly ineffective in his chances, converting only 7-of-22 break points. In addition, Kohlschreiber claimed two games on Federer’s serve, which was somewhat inaccurate throughout the match. Overall, the Swiss hit on 68 percent of his first serves and drilled 15 aces.

A winner of 115 straight Grand Slam matches against opponents outside the top-5, Federer is now an unblemished 46-0 when winning the first set of a match here at the AEC.

Next up on Federer’s quest to break Pete Sampras’ all-time record for major victories is a familiar face: 13th-seeded Robin Soderling. Soderling was his last obstacle en route to claiming the French Open crown earlier this month, as he posted an easy 6-1, 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 victory on the red clay at Roland Garros to tie Sampras with 14 Grand Slam wins.

To make it to his 21st straight major quarterfinal round, Federer will have to beat Soderling for the 11th straight time after taking the first 10 matches between the two. Soderling, of Sweden, posted a 7-6 (9-7), 6-4, 6-4 win over Spain’s Nicolas Almagro to advance.

Tasting major success for the first time on the professional tour, Soderling is now into the fourth round in his second straight Grand Slam tournament after failing to reach that level in his first 21 tries.

In other action, seventh-seeded Fernando Verdasco advanced to the fourth round here for the third time in four years, besting 32nd-seeded Albert Montanes 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) in 2 hours, 17 minutes. Verdasco’s ground game was too much for Montanes, as he hit 57 winners, compared to just 32 for his opponent.

The hard-hitting Verdasco, who advanced to the semifinals at this year’s Australian Open, will need to beat 22nd-seeded Ivo Karlovic to get to the quarterfinals for the first time at Wimbledon. In three previous matches against Karlovic, Verdasco has only won once, although the two have never met in a Grand Slam event.

Karlovic, who is the ATP Tour’s tallest player at 6-foot-10 and recently set a record for most aces in a match (55) in a French Open loss to Lleyton Hewitt, won a tough battle with ninth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) in a match that featured just one break of serve.

The Croat Karlovic is in the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time since 2004 and drilled 46 aces in the win over Tsonga, failing to even yield a break point the entire match.


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