London: Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal eased into the Wimbledon quarter-final yesterday as the sport’s Grand Slam heavyweights continued to deliver blow after blow to their wilting lightweight rivals.
Defending champion and world number one Novak Djokovic reached his 11th Wimbledon quarter-final and 45th at the majors with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 win over France’s Ugo Humbert.
Third seed Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion, swept to an easy 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 win over outclassed Joao Sousa of Portugal to book his place in a seventh quarter-final at the All England Club.
Roger Federer yesterday became the oldest man to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final in 28 years when he booked his place in the last eight for the 17th time.
Eight-time champion Federer breezed past Italy’s Matteo Berrettini 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in just 74 minutes to make sure of a spot in his 55th quarter-final at the Slams.
It was also his 99th win at the All England Club.
At 37, he is the oldest man to reach the last eight at the majors since 39-year-old Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open.
Federer, who hit 24 winners and just five unforced errors, will face Japan’s Kei Nishikori who defeated Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 for a place in the semi-final.
The 29-year-old Japanese star trails Federer 3-7 in career meetings although he won their most recent meeting at the ATP Finals in London at the end of last season.
Yesterday’s win was Nishikori’s ninth in nine meetings against world 58 Kukushkin.
Four-time champion and top seed Djokovic will face Belgium’s David Goffin for a place in the semi-finals.
Goffin matched his best-ever performance at the majors by reaching his first Wimbledon quarter-final. The Belgian beat Spain’s Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (11/9), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
In getting to the last eight of a Grand Slam for the third time, Goffin became the fifth Belgian man in history to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon – and, along with Xavier Malisse in 2002, the only one to do so since 1924.
Also joining Nadal in the last-eight was his compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut who reached his first Wimbledon quarter-final and second at the majors this year when he defeated France’s Benoit Paire 6-3, 7-5, 6-2.
The 31-year-old world number 22 will face either 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic of Canada or Argentina’s Guido Pella for a place in the semi-finals.
Djokovic, 32, has a 5-1 career record over 21st seed Goffin who will be playing in his first Wimbledon quarter-final.
Humbert, the world number 66, had never played a match on grass before this season and was defeated in just one hour and 42 minutes.