Roger Federer celebrates beating Cameron Norrie
Roger Federer is going for a men’s record ninth Wimbledon title
Venue: All England Club Dates: 28 June-11 July
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Eight-time champion Roger Federer needed all of his quality and resilience to dash British number two Cameron Norrie’s hopes of causing a big upset in the Wimbledon third round.

Federer, 39, has had little court time over the past 16 months but played well enough to win 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-4.

One of the form players in 2021, Norrie could not find a sustained high level against the 20-time major champion.

The Swiss goes on to face Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego in the last 16.

Sonego, seeded 23rd, had never won a main-draw match at Wimbledon until this year, but reached the fourth round by beating unseeded Australian James Duckworth in straight sets.

Following exits for Andy Murray and Dan Evans on Friday, Norrie’s defeat means there will be no British players in the second week of the men’s singles.

The home nation’s last remaining hope in the singles is 18-year-old wildcard Emma Raducanu, who continued her dream run by beating Romania’s Sorana Cirstea.

While much of Federer’s legacy of greatness has been built at the All England Club, there was a suspicion among many that this year could be the one where time could catch up with him.

The Swiss turns 40 next month and has only played five tournaments over the past 16 months following two knee surgeries.

In his first-round match, Federer looked ponderous as Adrian Mannarino threatened a major upset.

Federer had trailed by two sets to one, but led in the fourth when the Frenchman was cruelly forced to quit after slipping and injuring his knee.

A routine win against Richard Gasquet in the second round was a major improvement and he built on that in the opening set against Norrie.

Federer rolled back the years with his imperious serving, easing through his holds to take the opener and then dominating the second set.

There was little drop-off from Federer in the third but Norrie is one of the most determined – and fittest – players on the ATP Tour.

Characteristically, the Briton refused to give in and pinched the third before Federer kept his nerve in the key moments of the fourth to seal victory.

Federer took his first match point when Norrie batted a first serve back into the net and his celebration showed what he had to do to earn the victory.

Knees bent and clenched fist driving towards the court, the usually reserved Swiss roared his relief at going through.

“I’m very pleased to get through, I’m super relieved. It was a tough battle,” said Federer, who reached the Wimbledon last 16 for a men’s record 18th time.

“He deserved that third set, I thought he played excellent today and for me I felt I was able to keep a very high level of play.

“He got the good break at the end of the third but overall I can be very happy with how I played.”

Norrie again comes unstuck against one of the ‘Big Three’

Cameron Norrie waves to the Wimbledon crowd after losing to Roger Federer
Only Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas and Russia’s Andrey Rublev have won more tour-level matches than Cameron Norrie this year

Norrie, seeded 29th, was playing in the third round of Wimbledon for the first time in his career, which was a suitable – but perhaps minimum – achievement at his home Grand Slam after a fine year.

It was the third successive Slam where he had reached the last 32 and had the misfortune of facing another member of the ‘Big Three’ there.

Spanish great Rafael Nadal beat him at the Australian Open and French Open but having gained that experience, as well as confidence from reaching last month’s Queen’s final, he would have been expecting to push Federer.

Initially, Norrie looked nervous and struggled to execute his shots as cleanly as he has been in recent months.

Three double faults in the opening game of the match was ominous and, although Norrie dug deep to hold there, Federer broke for a 4-3 lead which he never looked in danger of relinquishing.

With Federer being a difficult frontrunner to peg back, the Briton needed a quick start to the second.

Norrie was unable to take either of two break points at his first opportunity, instead getting broken himself in the next game as Federer maintained that advantage for a two-set lead.

Both players were rarely troubled on serve in the third until Federer was unable to take two break points at 5-5 which would have left him serving for the match.

From nowhere, Norrie then broke to love and won the set to the excitement of a Centre Crowd split in their support.

Another double fault by Norrie at 2-2 0-15 in the fourth set seemed to be a costly lack of concentration as Federer went on to break to love, only for the Briton to break straight back and get the home fans on their feet.

Norrie had admirably grown into the match, but Federer again showed his experience at the crucial moment to break and serve out victory.

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