Roger Federer was at his best for most parts of the match, but needed to overcome a late wobble in the third set to beat British 29th seed Cameron Norrie on Saturday. He recorded the 1,250th match win of his stellar career with a 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win in two hours and 35 minutes on Centre Court. The hard-fought win allowed him to continue his quest for a record-extending ninth title at The Championships, Wimbledon. On the back of an indifferent form, Federer arrived at the grass-court major eyeing momentum and he has now reached the Wimbledon fourth round on 18 occasions in 22 visits.
“I’m super relieved as it was a tough battle,” said Federer, in an on-court interview. “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’s only loss to a British player at Wimbledon came in the quarterfinals against Tim Henman in 2001. The 20-time Grand Slam champion hit 48 winners, including seven aces on his way to beat Norrie, the recent cinch Championships finalist. Federer, who is now 104-13 at The Championships, will next play Italian 23rd seed Lorenzo Sonego.
The former World No. 1, who is currently level with Rafael Nadal on 20 major crowns, had defeated Sonego in straight sets in their only meeting at Roland Garros in 2019. The Swiss star started patiently waiting to seize control of the match. From 2-3 down, Federer won 12 points in a row to take control of the set, including a break of serve to love. He closed out the 30-minute opener and started briskly in the second set and broke in the third game. Norrie saved a set point on serve at 3-5, but the Swiss maestro made it two sets to love in the next game.
The third set was a tightly-fought contest, with both players holding on to their service games effectively. From 5-5, 15/40 in the third set, Norrie won eight straight points to take the match into the fourth set. After exchanging service breaks midway through the fourth set, Federer relentlessly pursued a decisive break, which finally arrived at 4-4. From that point on, there was no stopping Federer. The Swiss maestro closed out the set to seal the match with little difficulty.
“I thought I was extremely calm throughout the match,” said Federer. “Maybe that’s why I saved all the emotions for the very end. It meant a lot to me, because, I thought actually [that] I played a really good match throughout, except maybe that one game where Norrie [broke] me.
“Credit to him for pushing me. I know he’s had a really good season so far. He’s played a ton of matches and a lot of tournaments… That’s why I was extremely happy that I found ways to fight back in that fourth set.”
Meanwhile, Sonego, who will play Federer next, defeated wild card James Duckworth of Australia 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 and joined compatriot Matteo Berrettini in the round-of-16 in Wimbledon.