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Federer blows away cobwebs to reach 3rd round; Barty also advances

Switzerland's Roger Federer watches the ball before returning against France's Richard Gasquet during their men's singles second round match on the fourth day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 1, 2021. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE
Switzerland’s Roger Federer celebrates winning against France’s Richard Gasquet. (AFP)

LONDON (AFP) – Roger Federer moved up a gear as he produced a far more polished performance in his second round demolition of Frenchman Richard Gasquet at Wimbledon on Thursday beating him 7-6 (7/1), 6-1, 6-4.

The 39-year-old eight-time champion had looked rusty and edgy at times in his first round clash with Gasquet’s compatriot Adrian Mannarino.

However, the cobwebs that come with so few competitive matches in almost two years due to two knee operations were blown away.

Landmarks and Federer go hand in hand and on Thursday he became the oldest man in 46 years to reach the Wimbledon third round —  Ken Rosewall was 40 when he made the third round at the All England Club in 1975.

He next plays Britain’s fast-improving Cameron Norrie for a place in the last 16.

Norrie is third on the ATP list for most wins this year and notched up number 31 as he swept aside Australian wildcard Alex Bolt 6-3, 6-1, 6-2.

Norrie joins fellow Britons Dan Evans and two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray in the third round.

It is the first time three British men have reached the third round since 1999, when Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski and Danny Sapsford reached the last 32.   

The younger generation of top players still have a way to go to prove they can win Wimbledon but two of them showed perhaps they are becoming accustomed to the vagaries of grass.

Men’s second seed Daniil Medvedev made short work of 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, the youngest player in the men’s draw.

Medvedev showed the confidence he had gained in winning his first grass court tournament last Saturday in Mallorca.

The 25-year-old has never been beyond the third round and to break that mark he will have to beat 2017 finalist Marin Cilic of Croatia. 

Alexander Zverev, like Medvedev, has yet to flourish at Wimbledon but the German dismissed Tennys Sandgren, 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 in a match played in good hearted hunmour.

The fourth seed next plays big serving American Taylor Fritz.

Zverev and Medvedev could meet in the semi-finals.

Federer’s much-improved second round performance was a stark contrast to Australia’s women’s title hope Ashleigh Barty.

The 25-year-old is bidding to win the Wimbledon singles title on the 50th anniversary of fellow indigenous Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s first victory.

Barty produced an error-strewn performance in her 6-4, 6-3 win over Russia’s Anna Blinkova as she progressed to a third round meeting with Czech Katerina Siniakova.

Barty is seeded to meet this year’s French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova in the last 16.

Krejcikova brushed aside second round opponent German veteran Andrea Petkovic 7-5, 6-4.

Barty is popular on Centre Court but nothing compared to Coco Gauff due to her exploits aged 15 in 2019 reaching the Last 16 as a qualifier.

‘Coco Mania’ has not diminished on Centre Court despite a two-year hiatus and the 17-year-old did not let the crowd down with a 6-4, 6-3 win over former semi-finalist Elena Vesnina.

However, it paled in comparison to the five minute standing ovation accorded to 2018 Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber and her opponent Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Kerber came through an absorbing duel 7-5, 5-7, 6-4.

Three fewer seeds will be standing in Barty’s way as she looks to add the senior singles title to her 2011 junior Wimbledon win.

Third seed Elina Svitolina, a Wimbledon semi-finalist two years ago, said she needs a rest after losing 6-3, 6-4 to Poland’s Magda Linette.

“I think mentally today I was not really in a good place,” said Svitolina.

French Open sem-finalist Maria Sakkari, the 15th-seeded Greek, lost to Shelby Rogers of the United States 7-5, 6-4.

Victoria Azarenka joined them later on Thursday, the 31-year-old 12th seed from Belarus beaten 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 6-4 by Romania’s Sorana Cirstea.

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Written by Tempo Desk

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