Evergreen Roger Federer kept his quest for a record eighth Wimbledon crown on track on Monday, dispatching Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in a match-up of classic styles that had the purists purring.
The Bulgarian 13th seed, nicknamed ‘Baby Fed’ when he was a junior on the basis of a single-handed backhand as silkily smooth as the Swiss master’s, looked sharp in the early exchanges.
It was close to mirror-image tennis as the two men exchanged searing groundstrokes, gliding to the Centre Court net when they saw an opening to dispatch clinical volleys.
But the difference between the greatest ever player on grass and the man who has struggled for years to emerge from his shadow told on the big points.
Third seed Federer, who missed the clay court season to better prepare for his favourite tournament, took a decisive lead in the ninth game, converting his third break point. The Swiss then served out the first set to love.
“(Dimitrov) did give me some opportunities … but most important was for me to really focus on my game,” Federer said.
“I thought it was a terrific match and I didn’t expect it to go that easy for me.”
Meanwhile, Tomas Berdych too reached the last eight after coming through a brutal five set tussle with Austrian Dominic Thiem
Berdych, who lost to Rafa Nadal in the 2010 final, came through 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in a two-hour-and-52 minute encounter on Court Three against the world number eight.
Lofty Croat Marin Cilic too was in cruise mode, demolishing Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.
Defending champion Andy Murray too eased into the quarterfinals for the 10th successive year with a 7-6 (1), 6-4, 6-4 victory over Benoit Paire.
In the women’s section, top seed Angelique Kerber crashed out and lost her hold on the world number one ranking, while five-time champion Venus Williams became the oldest All England Club quarterfinalist in 23 years.
Johanna Konta, the bookmakers’ favourite for the title, became the first British woman to reach the quarterfinals since Jo Durie in 1984.
Kerber was beaten 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 by Spanish 14th seed Garbine Muguruza as the German’s fourth round exit extended a miserable run for last year’s Wimbledon runner-up.
Halep, the Romanian world number two, defeated Victoria Azarenka 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 and will be guaranteed top spot if she beats Konta in the last eight.
If Halep, a two-time French Open runner-up, loses to the Briton, then Czech world number three Pliskova will be the new number one despite losing in the second round.
Muguruza, the 2015 Wimbledon runner-up, goes on to play Russian seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova for a place in the semifinals
Former US and French Open champion Kuznetsova, 32, reached her first Wimbledon quarterfinal in 10 years with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Polish ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska.
Granted showcourt billing, Williams didn’t hang around as she crushed 19-year-old Croatian Ana Konjuh 6-3, 6-2 in 64 minutes on Centre Court.
Williams plays French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko for a place in the semifinals.
Ostapenko advanced to her first Wimbledon quarterfinal after finally converting her eighth match point to defeat Ukrainian world number five Elina Svitolina 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) on tiny Court 12.
World number seven Konta defeated France’s Caroline Garcia 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-4 on Court One.
Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova is into her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal after a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 win over Croatian qualifier Petra Martic.
Next up for the world number 87 is a clash with American 24th seed Coco Vandeweghe. Vandeweghe moved into her second Wimbledon quarterfinal with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 victory over former world number one Caroline Wozniacki.
In doubles, India’s Sania Mirza and Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium were knocked out of the by Swiss great Martina Hingis and Yung-Jan Chan.
Seeded 13th, Mirza and her Belgian partner lost their third round match 2-6, 4-6 to third seed rivals in 71 minutes
Results (prefix denotes seeding): Round 4: Singles: Men: 6-Milos Raonic (Can) bt 10-Alexander Zverev (Ger) 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1; 3-Roger Federer (Sui) bt 13-Grigor Dimitrov (Bul) 6-4, 6-2, 6-4; 11-Tomas Berdych (Czh) bt 8-Dominic Thiem (Aut) 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3; 24-Sam Querrey (US) bt Kevin Anderson (Rsa) 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-7 (11), 6-3; 1-Andy Murray (Gbr) bt Benoit Paire (Fra) 7-6 (1), 6-4, 6-4; 7-Marin Cilic (Cro) bt 18-Roberto Bautista (Esp) 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.
Women: 2-Simona Halep (Rom) bt Victoria Azarenka (Blr) 7-6(3), 6-2; 6-Johanna Konta (Gbr) bt 21-Caroline Garcia (Fra) 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4; 24-CoCo Vandeweghe (US) bt 5-Caroline Wozniacki (Den) 7-6(4), 6-4; 10-Venus Williams (US) bt 27-Ana Konjuh (Cro) 6-3, 6-2; 14-Garbine Muguruza (Esp) bt 1-Angelique Kerber (Ger) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; Magdalena Rybarikova (Slo) bt Petra Martic (Cro) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3; 13-Jelena Ostapenko (Lat) bt 4-Elina Svitolina (Ukr) 6-3, 7-6(6); 7-Svetlana Kuznetsova (Rus) bt 9-Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol) 6-2, 6-4