In the final match scheduled for the first week of Wimbledon on Centre Court, third seed Roger Federer took to the courts. The 18-time Grand Slam singles champion is chasing a record eighth Wimbledon title, and his quest continues. The former world number one defeated 27th seed Mischa Zverev for the fifth time, and still has not dropped a set throughout the Championships which is crucial.
The 35-year-old remains the bookmaker's favorite to clinch another title at SW19. Despite not dropping a set, he will have a tough fourth round encounter with 13th seed Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian has not dropped a set either, and it will be an intriguing fourth round encounter on Manic Monday.
Federer claims the opening set in a tiebreak
The former world number opened proceedings in this third round clash with an easy service game. Zverev is known for his serve and volley game which he used in his first service game, and despite trailing 15-30, he held onto his serve to restore parity at 1-1.
The seven-time champion held onto his next service game, and he immediately got a better read of Zverev's serve in the next game by punishing the 27th seed, who did not cover the net well. Federer broke the 29-year-old by producing immaculate backhand winners down the line to take a 3-1 lead.
Federer was in his zone on Centre Court as he consolidated the break with a commanding hold to love, leading the German with some work to do. Zverev's serve and volleying game, worked in the next game as he remained in touch with Federer but trailed 4-2.
However, opportunity knocked in the following game as the 27th seed broke the third seed's serve by producing good forehand returns down the line, forcing the error from the Swiss number two, despite Federer leading 30-0 on his serve.
The lefty reduced the arrears by serving well to level the opening set at 4-4. Furthermore, both players would get into a rhythm on their serve and both recorded back-to-back holds to love to 5-5.
Moreover, there was a crucial point in the 11th game of the first set as Zverev had the chance to break Federer's serve and serve out for the opening set. His backhand down the line posed some problems for Federer but the 18-time Grand Slam champion staved off the break point with an ace down the T. It was a big roar from Federer, who held onto his serve as he knew it was a crucial moment of the match.
Zverev was taken to deuce in his next service game but he served it out and took the opening set to a tiebreak. The duo faced off in a tiebreak in Halle last month which Federer came out on top. Federer won the first point on his serve, and he immediately claimed the mini-break by producing a forehand return winner down the line with Zverev getting caught out at the net once more.
Federer continued to serve well and his lead was healthy at 4-1. Moreover, Zverev sent down two big serves back-to-back to remain just one point behind in the tiebreak. However, the seven-time Wimbledon champion would create his first set point chance with a volley winner, and he took the opening set, 7-6(3) with Zverev's volley sailing long.
One break is enough for Federer to take two sets to love lead
The elder Zverev brother continued to serve and volley well which helped him get off to a good start in the second set. However, he was struggling to break Federer's serve as the world number five continued to serve impeccably, and produce forehand winners down the line, serve aces and volley to hold to love, leveling the second set at 1-1.
Once again, the 27th-seeded German was under pressure on his serve, as Federer was reading the serve well. The former world number one broke producing a ripping backhand winner down the line, following a good pickup from Zverev to gain a break point. The German snuffed it out with an ace down the T. However, the inevitable occurred by breaking Zverev's serve with a forehand winner down the line to lead 2-1.
Federer consolidated the break with a hold to love but it was almost curtains for Zverev as he faced another break point with Federer looking to get a double break advantage. Zverev saved it with a gutsy second serve out wide and he ensured the break remained to one with a good serve out wide but trailed 3-2.
The first set continued to remain on serve dominated with both players holding their serve to 15. The Swiss number two was one game away from a two sets to love lead, after displaying some crushing forehands to lead 5-3.
Zverev did his part, and he served to stay in the second set with a hold to love. Consequently, the seven-time Wimbledon champion closed out the second set by producing a forehand winner down the line, to take out the second set 6-4 with just one hour and 18 minutes played on the clock.
Federer advances to the second week for the 15th time
Both players held to 30 in their respective service games to get the third set underway. Moreover, the 27th seed played one of his worst games of the match as he continued to commit unforced errors, and he committed two double faults, losing the game with the second one. Federer had the crucial break advantage, leading 2-1 in the third set, which virtually matched over for the German.
The Swiss maestro continued to remain sound on his serve but the serve-and-volleyer was struggling. Once again, Federer tried to gain the double break advantage by playing a ripping forehand winner down the line with Zverev stranded at the net. Moreover, he produced a gutsy second serve down the middle and a good serve out wide to remain one break behind.
Federer stretched out to a 4-2 lead in the third set by holding onto his serve with ease, which was frustrating for Zverev. Nonetheless, the 27th seed continued to serve and volley, which he gradually improved in this set but was still unable to break Federer back.
The seven-time Wimbledon champion booked his place in the fourth round at Wimbledon for the 15th time in his career. The former world number one held to love by producing two back-to-back aces, reserving plenty of energy in the tank, with just under two hours on the clock.
The third seed produced 13 aces in contrast to Zverev who only sent down six. The former world number one got 60 per cent of his serves in, and he won 83 percent points on it. The Swiss number two also won 71 percent of the points on second serve and 74 percent of the points at the net. He also produced 61 winners and just seven unforced errors.