Roger Federer looks to secure what would be an extraordinary eighteenth quarter-final at Wimbledon on Monday but must first see off an in-form Lorenzo Sonego to get that far. Federer had made the last eight in all but one Wimbledon since 2003, with the infamous 2013 loss to Sergiy Stakhovsky in round two the exception.
Sonego was full of confidence coming into this one, having made the Eastbourne final. He has dealt with a fairly weak draw with the minimum fuss dropping just one set to Pedro Sousa, Daniel Galan and James Duckworth overall. A strong serving performance was the backbone of his win against Duckworth in round three, remaining unbroken in the 6-3 6-4 6-4 win.
Federer didn’t get it all his own way in the previous round against Cameron Norrie but he was generally in charge for much of the 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-4 win against the Brit. A failure to take break point late at the end of the third saw him dragged into a fourth set but the pressure on Norrie’s serve in the fourth set told as he was broken twice including the decisive one at 4-4. “I’m very, very pleased and super-relieved – that was a tough battle,” said Federer. “He deserved that third set. He played excellent. I felt I was able to keep a high level of play and can be very happy with how I played.
Federer has played Sonego once, beating the Italian at Roland Garros two years ago. It is hard to read much into that for a multitude of reasons but the improvement of Sonego will be just as important as the different surface. The sixth seed continues to derust and should be fairly confident of advancing bar a disastrous serving performance. The Italian is much better on serve but may not be capable of maintaining the defensive level to deal with Federer, even at this stage of his career.
Prediction – Roger Federer in four sets