London: Swiss tennis maestro Roger Federer breezed past Richard Gasquet to reach the third round of the Wimbledon here at the center court.
39-year-old Federer became the oldest man since Ken Rosewall in 1975 to make the last 32 after his 7-6(1), 6-1, 6-4 victory over Frenchman.
In a nervous start for both players, it wasn’t until the tie-break that Federer, who struck 18 winners in the first set, got into full flow. Gasquet, who had performed well, hit his second double fault to conclude the 49-minute set.
The second set was just too easy for Federer as 8 times Wimbledon champion raced through with 5-0 advantage and later hit a sixth ace to clinch the set.
Federer continued to threaten Gasquet’s serve in the third set, finally breaking through after the Frenchman mistimed a backhand drop shot at 3-3. Gasquet saved a match point at 3-5, 30/40 with a fine forehand approach and easy put-away. But minutes later Federer struck his 50th winner – an ace – to complete his victory in one hour and 51 minutes.
This was the third time that Federer had faced Gasquet at the All England Club – after a first-round match at the 2006 Championships, and a semi-final in 2007 – and every time he has gone through without dropping a set. This straight-sets win didn’t just extend Federer’s one-sided history over Gasquet but also took his streak against French opponents to 18 consecutive wins.
Gasquet, 35, is a two-time semi-finalist at Wimbledon, losing in the last four in 2007 (l. to Federer) and 2015 (l. to Djokovic).
Federer who is at SW17 to emulate Martina Navratilova by winning the ninth Wimbledon will next face British 29th seed Cameron Norrie for the first time at tour level on Saturday.