Roger Federer is two sets away from equalling his longest ‘perfect’ run at Wimbledon, but will not have that on his mind during his quarter-final tomorrow.
The defending champion made it 32 straight sets won at the All England Club with a 6-0 7-5 6-4 victory over Adrian Mannarino to reach the last eight for the 16th time.
The last time he won as many consecutive sets was in 2005 and 2006 at the height of his dominance.
Federer said: “I feel like these streaks just happen. You can’t plan for them anyway because one point can change the outcome of a set.
“Of course, if you give yourself maximum chances, you’re playing well, you have super focus, then these streaks are kind of possible.
“I’m equally happy if I would have won all the matches in four sets. That it happened to be in straights it helps me for the season, to save energy, it helps me to save energy for the rest of the tournament.
“I don’t think it’s something anybody aims for, to win every match in straight sets.
“It’s like, I hope I get off to a good start, go from there. If it happens, it happens. It shouldn’t be a shock, and, ‘Oh, I can’t believe it, I lost a set’. It’s part of what a tennis match is about.”
Even by Federer’s stratospheric standards, the first set was a little absurd.
Of the five points he lost in the 16-minute opener three were in the final game when he faced his first break point of the tournament – and answered it with an ace.
After that things became a little trickier, and Federer was in danger of losing a set when Mannarino had three break points in the eighth game of the third set.
But Federer saved all of them before breaking and serving out the victory to love.
In the last eight he will face eighth seed Kevin Anderson, who he has beaten in straight sets in all four of their previous meetings, after the South African defeated Gael Monfils 7-6 (7/4) 7-6 (7/2) 5-7 7-6 (7/4).
The first set between Federer and Mannarino was so one-sided that, when Mannarino trailed 0-40 in the opening game of the second, the normally pro-Federer Centre Court crowd began to cheer loudly for his opponent.
It had the potential to be embarrassing, particularly given Mannarino is a top-30 player, but the Frenchman composed himself well to make a match of it.
Federer said: “I told my team the other day that for me also, after all these years, it is surprising to be the No 1 seed, in the top two in the rankings at 36. I didn’t think that was ever going to happen. That sometimes there is a set like this against a player who is not the biggest server, it can happen. Then he showed that he is top 30 after all, he played two good sets after that.
“I was also surprised it was that fast, that first set, especially 16 minutes. That was too fast. Shouldn’t really happen, but thankfully they do for me. I probably won’t have another 6-0 set this week, so I’ll enjoy this one.”