Eight-time champion Roger Federer continued his run at Wimbledon 2021 with a hard-fought four-set, 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, victory over Britain’s Cameron Norrie on Saturday.
The 20-time Grand Slam singles champion may not be one of the favourites for the title at SW19 this year in what is his latest comeback from an injury layoff, but he showed impressive fitness as he outfought Norrie over four tough sets on Centre Court.
The sixth seed clearly relished the atmosphere on his favourite court as he produced some typically outrageous shots to defeat the British number two in two hours and 34 minutes.
It was certainly not all one-way traffic as Norrie delighted the Centre Court crowd in taking the third set with a crucial break of serve from 5-5, but the fourth set went Federer’s way in ruthless fashion.
Norrie deserves huge credit for what was a gutsy and hugely determined performance in front of the raucous home fans and the 25-year-old could not have given any more as he came up just short against the Swiss legend.
Remarkably, it is the 18th time Federer has secured his place in the second week at Wimbledon and, ultimately, Norrie could not stop his seemingly certain progress.
“I’m very pleased to get through, I’m super relieved. It was a tough battle,” Federer told the BBC.
“He deserved that third set, I thought he played excellent today and for me I felt I was able to keep a very high level of play.
“He got the good break at the end of the third but overall I can be very happy with how I played.”
Federer will next take on 23rd seed Lorenzo Sonego of Italy in the fourth round as he seeks to win his ninth Wimbledon title this fortnight, in what would be his most unlikely Grand Slam triumph for years given all he has gone through to regain his form and fitness.
With world number one Novak Djokovic the overwhelming favourite to triumph at Wimbledon this year and retain the trophy he won two years ago against Federer, the Swiss has a lot on the line – particularly given Djokovic will be aiming to equal his tally of 20 Grand Slam singles titles this fortnight.