Roger Federer will be seeking a 12th straight victory over Lleyton Hewitt when the two clash in Monday’s intriguing fourth-round clash at Wimbledon.
Federer eased into the last 16 yesterday with a 6-3 6-3 6-1 victory over France’s Marc Gicquel, while Hewitt – the only other player in the draw to have tasted title success at the All England Club – also won in straight sets against Italy’s Simone Bolelli.
Defending champion Federer has a 13-7 win-loss record against Hewitt overall, including winning the last 11 in a row and two victories at Wimbledon – in the 2004 quarter-finals and the 2005 semi-final.
“I’ve definitely played well against him the last times I’ve played him,” said Federer, 26. “It’s always a challenge playing Lleyton.
“He’s a great player, a guy I really enjoy watching as well. He’s a great competitor. We played when we were 15 for the first time, I saved a match point and won in the end.
“Especially here, him being a former world number one, former champion here, I think it’s an intriguing match for both of us.”
It had been suggested that five-time champion Federer was vulnerable this year having won just two tournaments coming into Wimbledon and being hammered by Rafael Nadal in the French Open final.
But Hewitt, who won here in 2002, was not about to give that theory much credence.
“I think he feels very comfortable, he’s played all his matches on Centre Court so far again this year. He feels right at home on that stage,” said the Australian, who is nursing a hip injury which he admitted would have kept him out of any other tournament.
“We’re probably going to be out there Monday. He’s won 60 something (62) matches now on grass. If he plays Rafa on grass, because of what Rafa did to him at the French Open.... But in terms of him playing anyone else, I think he’s going to still have that aura and that self-confidence behind him.”
Nadal faced a potentially tricky third-round clash with Nicolas Kiefer on Centre Court today, the German having not dropped a set so far and lost just 13 games in the first two rounds.
That match followed Britain’s Andy Murray against another German, former world number two Tommy Haas, while eighth seed Richard Gasquet faced fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon on Court One.
Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov, who ended British qualifier Chris Eaton’s run in the second round, takes on Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic on Court Two, Tipsarevic having disposed of former finalist Andy Roddick on Thursday.
Novak Djokovic’s conqueror Marat Safin progressed to the last 16 with a 7-6 (7/5) 3-6 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 victory over 29th seed Andreas Seppi of Italy.
Safin, who will face Stanislas Wawrinka on Monday, told the BBC: “I was getting really nervous because I thought we might have to come back tomorrow. It was a good match and we both played well. It was great tennis also and I hope the fans enjoyed it.”