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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Muller downs Nadal in five set classic, Federer reaches half century: Wimbledon last 16 round-up

A round-up of the fourth round from the men's and women's singles at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships.

Gilles Muller prevailed in a near five hour epic against Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of Wimbledon. Matthew Childs / Reuters
Gilles Muller prevailed in a near five hour epic against Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of Wimbledon. Matthew Childs / Reuters

A round-up of the fourth round from the men's and women's singles at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships.

MEN'S SINGLES FOURTH ROUND

Muller edges Nadal in epic

French Open champion Rafael Nadal's challenge for a third Wimbledon title was ended by Luxembourg's Gilles Muller as the Spaniard succumbed 6-3 6-4 3-6 4-6 15-13 in a heart-pounding fourth-round classic on Monday. The 31-year-old Nadal fought back from two sets down and saved four match points in a 135-minute minute fifth set in which he successfully served to stay alive nine times. At the 10th time of asking, however, and with thousands of transfixed fans watching the drama unfold on the screen on the hill and on the edge of their seats on Court One, Nadal buckled under the relentless pressure exerted by an inspired Muller. A miss-hit forehand gave Muller two more match points and this time he finished the job as a weary Nadal went long. Sixteenth seed Muller, who served 30 aces and hit 95 winners, will play Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals.

Cilic cruises into quarter-finals

Croatian seventh seed Marin Cilic reached a fourth successive Wimbledon quarter-final on Monday with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 win over Roberta Bautista Agut of Spain. Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, will look to reach his first semi-final at the All England Club when he faces either two-time champion Rafael Nadal or Gilles Muller of Luxembourg in the last-eight.

Murray marches past Paire

Defending champion Andy Murray is through to the quarter-finals after coming through an awkward encounter with Benoit Paire. The Scot's serve was broken three times by his French opponent, but each time he rallied to eventually secure a 7-6 (7/1) 6-4 6-4 victory. Murray twice recovered from a break down to win the opening set on a tie-break. A limp Paire service game in the second gave Murray an immediate break, but he was pegged back at 3-3 and saved four break points before clinching the set. The world number one continued to limp, chuntered away angrily at his box and argued with the umpire as he struggled to find his timing. But he grabbed the crucial break at 4-4 in the third set before serving out to seal his passage into the last eight.

Querrey wins battle of the big servers

Sam Querrey came through the battle of the big serves in five sets on Court 18. The American lost the first set 7-5 to South Africa's Kevin Anderson, but levelled on a tie-break before taking the third with a rare break of serve. A marathon tie-break in the fourth went Anderson's way, after he survived four match points, but he was broken again in the decider as Querrey won 5-7 7-6 (7/5) 6-3 6-7 (11/13) 6-3.

Berdych outlasts Thiem

Former finalist Tomas Berdych reached the last eight after coming through a brutal five set tussle with Austrian Dominic Thiem. Berdych, who lost to Rafael Nadal in the 2010 final, came through 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in a two-hour-and-52 minute encounter on Court 3 against the world No 8. The Czech, who reached the quarter-finals for the fifth time, will next face either three-time champion Novak Djokovic or Adrian Mannarino. Berdych, who had only won one of his previous 10 matches against top 10 opposition, was celebrating after firing down his 15th ace.

Raonic sets up Federer rematch

Milos Raonic, the 2016 runner-up, reached the quarter-finals with a 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win over Alexander Zverev of Germany. Canadian sixth seed Raonic will face seven-time champion Roger Federer in the last-eight in a rematch of last year's semi-final won by the giant Canadian.

Half century up for Federer

Roger Federer reached his 50th grand slam quarter-final and 15th at Wimbledon with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over Grigor Dimitrov. Seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer will face Raonic for a place in the semi-finals. Raonic defeated Federer in the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2016. Federer, 35, is also the second oldest man to make the quarter-finals at Wimbledon behind Ken Rosewall who was 39 when he reached the last-eight in 1971. "I'm thrilled to be back in the quarters again," said Federer who took his record over Dimitrov to 6-0. "It's very special to be in a 15th quarter-final here."

Still to come:

Adrian Mannarino v Novak Djokovic (2)

WOMEN'S SINGLES FOURTH ROUND

Ostapenko powers past Svitolina

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko let seven match points go begging before finally overcoming fourth seed Elina Svitolina 6-3 7-6(6) to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals on Monday. The 20-year-old Latvian, who is now only three wins away from completing what would be astonishing grand slam double, had looked to be cruising when she led 5-2 in the second set. But she let five opportunities to close out the match pass her by before being broken twice to allow her Ukrainian opponent to serve for the second set. Svitolina failed to take her chance, however, and was immediately broken back, sending the set into a tiebreak which Ostapenko won when she converted her eighth match point as her opponent dumped a forehand into the net.

Kuznetsova back into quarter-finals after 10 years

Svetlana Kuznetsova prevailed in one of the most established "fixtures" in women's tennis as she beat Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 6-4 to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time in 10 years. The Russian, seeded seventh, has found Radwanska an agreeable opponent over the past decade and did so again to beat her for the 14th time in 18 matches. Having faced opponents with an average ranking of 139 in her opening three matches, Kuznetsova was required to up her game against tricky ninth seed Radwanska and she did so, striking 37 winners to her opponent's 13. There was no way back for Radwanska in the first set as she lost the opening four games on a sun-drenched Court 3. But the second set lasted nearly an hour and contained a succession of long baseline exchanges. Kuznetsova, one of six grand slam champions to reach the last 16 and the second-oldest woman left standing, broke crucially in the seventh game.

Rybarikova makes last-eight for first time

Magdalena Rybarikova is through to her first grand slam quarter-final after she produced some sparkling tennis to defeat Croatian qualifier Petra Martic 6-4 2-6 6-3. The Slovak, ranked 87, is rare in the women's game - a player willing to abandon the security of the baseline and rush the net in the heat of battle. In a tight last-16 clash, the two players matched each other from the back of the court, exchanging stinging drives. But it was Rybarikova's willingness to charge the net behind her sliced backhand on crucial points that proved the difference. The 28-year-old, who had never made it past the Wimbledon third round previously, will next face the winner of the match between Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki and American Coco Vandeweghe.

Muguruza sends Kerber crashing

Top seed Angelique Kerber was dumped out of the last-16 by Garbine Muguruza, as the world No 1's woeful run against top-ranked opposition continued. Muguruza's 4-6 6-4 6-4 victory marked the ninth consecutive time Kerber has failed to beat a top-20 opponent. She last achieved that feat in 2016. Monday's match was always destined to be a close affair, pitting 2016 runner-up Kerber against her 2015 equivalent, and so it proved with the pair sharing the first two sets. There was little to separate the two for much of the decider until Spaniard Muguruza nosed ahead, taking the initiative with the braver hitting as the set progressed. She earned two match points in the 10th game of the set, which Kerber saved, before sealing it on her third when the German slapped a backhand into the net. Muguruza will next face Kuznetsova for a place in the semi-finals.

Williams keeps up bid for title No 6

Experience triumphed over youth on Centre Court as Venus Williams downed Croatian teenager Ana Konjuh 6-3 6-2 in a fourth-round battle of the baseliners. Facing each other for the first time, the oldest and youngest players left in the singles draw slugged it out in a quickfire contest that was littered with as many unforced errors as clean winners. Williams, seeded 10, made her debut in the grasscourt grand slam back in 1997. That was several months before the birth of her 27th-seeded opponent, who was appearing in the fourth round at the All England Club for the first time. After a scrappy opening set, 37-year-old Williams began finding her range on groundstrokes, keeping her younger opponent pegged at the back of the court. Konjuh saved three match points on serve but succumbed in the following game when she hit a backhand long. Williams becomes the oldest player since then 37-year-old Martina Navratilova in 1994 to reach the quarter-finals, where she will face the brightest of the sport's next-generation stars, French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

Konta ends Britain's 33-year wait

Johanna Konta became the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals since Jo Durie in 1984 when she beat Caroline Garcia of France 7-6 (3) 4-6 6-4. Konta had previously won only one match in five Wimbledon appearances but now suddenly finds herself with a realistic chance of winning it and becoming the first home champion since Virginia Wade 40 years ago. The seventh seed delivered an efficient display in an even battle, albeit with a major wobble in the middle, to overcome a tenacious opponent. Konta was always on top in the first set despite having to take it in the tie break but then lost five games in a row en route to losing the second. Serve dominated the final set so much that the first break point did not arrive until the 10th game, but when it did, Konta took full advantage as Garcia netted to lose the match.

Wozniacki's second week syndrome continues

Coco Vandeweghe moved into her second Wimbledon quarter-final with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 victory over former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki. Vandeweghe, who also made the last eight in 2015, will bid for her second grand slam semi-final appearance in 2017 when the American 24th seed faces Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova. Danish fifth seed Wozniacki has never won a grand slam and has now failed to get past the last 16 in all 11 of her visits to Wimbledon.

Halep ends Azarenka's return

Simona Halep sent new mum Victoria Azarenka packing 7-6(3) 6-2 in the fourth round as a litany of second-set errors put paid to the Belarussian's dreams of a fairytale Wimbledon comeback. Azarenka, playing in her second tournament after the birth of her son Leo in December, out-hit and out-thought the second-seeded Romanian for much of a pulsating first set, mixing deep groundstrokes with frequent dropshots and forays to the net. But the two-time semi-finalist at the All England Club began to flag in the first-set tiebreak, losing it 7-3 before conceding the next five games. A mini fightback pegged the second-set deficit back to 5-2 before another Azarenka backhand groundstroke error saw Halep home in just under 90 minutes, keeping alive the Romanian's hopes of a maiden grand slam victory and an ascent to the world number one ranking.