Roger Federer is through to the second week at Wimbledon for the eighteenth time thanks to a 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Cam Norrie in 2 hours and 34 minutes.
After cruising through the first two sets, Federer looked set for an easy day at the office when he held a virtual match point towards the end of the third set.
However, Norrie hit back to force a fourth set before Federer prevailed, gritting it out to record the 1,250th match win of his career.
The Swiss will face Lorenzo Sonego in the last ever Manic Monday at the Championships, with play being held on the middle Sunday from 2022 onwards.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and chose sides. Norrie elected to serve.
A nervous-looking Norrie fired in three double faults in the opening game, one of them providing Federer with a breakpoint. The Brit saved it with an ace and somehow came through for a 1-0 lead.
Federer kicked off his serving day with a comfortable hold to fifteen for 1-1 before Norrie responded with a much more comfortable hold of his own.
Another exchange of holds, including the first love hold of the set from Federer, took the score to 3-3.
In the seventh game, a Norrie double-fault helped Federer set up 0-40, and a forehand winner that clipped the back edge of the baseline secured the break for 4-3.
The Swiss consolidated the break, holding to love, meaning he'd won 12 points in a row for a 5-3 lead.
Norrie held to force Federer to serve it out, and he duly obliged, taking the opening set 6-4 in 30 minutes, dropping just 3 points on serve.
After a bathroom break, Norrie started set two with a hold to fifteen and then put Roger under pressure for the first time at 15-40.
Federer saved both breakpoints, and in the next game, he rifled a forehand winner to stay in the game at 30-15 and reeled off the next three points to break, thanks in part to some loose play from Norrie.
The eight-time champion slipped to 0-30 in the fourth game and was taken to deuce but held for a 3-1 lead.
Another exchange of holds put Federer up 4-2, and he was into a 5-3 lead thanks to more solid serving.
Federer then had a set point on the Norrie serve, but it was saved, forcing him to serve it out, which again he obliged, holding to love for a two-set lead.
Into the third set and Norrie started with a comfortable hold to fifteen for 1-0. At 0-15 on the Federer serve, Norrie blazed a forehand off a second serve return long; Federer went onto hold for 1-1.
Norrie looked set to drop serve at 0-30 in the third game, but he strung together four solid points to hold for 2-1.
That gave Norrie a dose of confidence, and over the next five games, he began to get more of a foothold in the match.
However, Federer's serve kept him at bay as the scoreboard ticked over to 5-5.
In the eleventh game, Federer produced a great return to set up two break points at 15-40. The first saw him flash a running cross-court backhand wide before Norrie came up with the goods to hold for 6-5.
That hold gave Norrie even more confidence, and after being behind the eight ball for the majority of three sets, he made some more returns, created 0-40 and converted to steal the set 7-5.
The loss of the set undoubtedly left Federer asking himself a few questions, but he started the fourth with a hold for 1-1.
Norrie, however, was still riding the crest of a wave as he held for 2-1 to keep the momentum.
Federer levelled, and then in the space of sixty seconds, Norrie's concentration dropped off as he slipped to 0-40, and Federer made him pay, coming up with a skimming slice to break for 3-2.
Federer then moved up 30-15 but was pegged to deuce, and a weak approach shot allowed Norrie to make the pass to set up breakpoint. A backhand winner converted it for the Brit to hit straight back.
Federer again got a foothold in the seventh game, holding a breakpoint, but he failed to make Norrie play the volley by dumping a backhand into the net. Norrie went on to hold for 4-3.
At 15-30 in the next game, Federer produced a high-quality cross-court forehand on the run as held for 4-4.
Sensing the moment, Federer upped the aggression in game nine, firing a forehand winner by running around a second serve and then using a chip charge to produce two breakpoints.
The choice to chip the second serve return didn't pay off as Norrie made deuce, but Federer didn't make the same mistake twice, running around the backhand on his third break point to draw an error and break for 5-4.
Federer then served it out, coming up with a low volley at 15-30 to avert any danger and book his spot in the last sixteen at a slam for the 69th time.
|Roger Federer||Cameron Norrie|
|First Serve % In||76/114 (67%)||87/132 (66%)|
|Win % On 1st Serve||56/76 (74%)||59/87 (68%)|
|Win % On 2nd Serve||25/38 (66%)||22/45 (49%)|
|Net Points Won||30/38 (79%)||16/25 (64%)|
|Break Points Won||4/11 (36%)||2/4 (50%)|
|Receiving Points Won||51/132 (39%)||33/114 (29%)|
|Total Points Won||132||114|
Thoughts on the Match
I’m super relieved as it was a tough battle. I was so close to serving it out in the third set and I thought he played excellent today. I think I kept a high level of play, but he did well to break me at the end of the third set. Overall, I can be very happy with the way I played. Federer on his win over Norrie
A great win here for Federer, and he's played his best two matches of the year now back to back against Gasquet and Norrie, respectively.
In the first two sets, I thought Federer did a great job of preventing Norrie from establishing himself in the rallies, going firmly into his backhand with his forehand and putting him in lots of awkward spots on the court where his extreme grip forehand isn't quite as effective.
The third should have gone his way too, but that makeable running backhand that he hit too hard allowed Norrie to stay in the match.
Roger then got a little passive, and Norrie got some more rhythm, use his forehand more effectively, and turned the match into more of the streetfight style he wanted.
The pleasing aspect was Federer's level never tailed off too severely when under pressure. In some ways, he benefited because Norrie isn't the type of player who can reel off points quickly to really rub salt into the wounds but also because his serve didn't waver under pressure.
He'll have been disappointed to drop serve in the fourth after working hard to capture the break, but to come through a match that could have easily gone five along with a partisan crowd desperate for it to do so was impressive.
As for Norrie, I thought he played some good stuff. He started a bit tight and made some uncharacteristic errors, but he made a fist of it in the end, showing why he's won so many matches this year thanks to a never say die attitude.
- Excellent serving display
- Moving well and way improved over the 1st round (still doesn't look as sharp as he can up at net or on the stretch)
- Forced Norrie out of his comfort zone
- Didn't let the loss of the third play on his mind too much
Predictions vs Sonego
Next up is Lorenzo Sonego, who defeated James Duckworth to make the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time in his career.
The Italian has shown himself to be a competent grass-court player, winning the title in Antalya a couple of years ago and recently making the final in Eastbourne, where he lost to Alex De Minaur.
So far, Sonego has dropped just the one set en route to the fourth round, and he'll be a threat to Federer on Monday.
While much depends on Federer's level, Sonego often has mixed days at the office; one minute, he can nearly take Djokovic out in the Rome semi-finals, and the next, he's heading home after a loss in the first round of the French Open.
If Federer serves like today, I like his chances.
What did you guys think of the win over Norrie? Predictions vs Sonego? Let me know in the comments.