Awesome Federer cruises through

ROGER FEDERER eased into the Wimbledon quarter-finals with a 6-3 6-4 7-6 victory over Spain’s Juan Carlos Ferrero.

It was the 33rd consecutive grass-court triumph for Federer and on this form it appears inevitable that the world number one is nearing a hat-trick of men’s singles titles.

The champion had lost just one set this tournament and apart from the third set tie-breaker the Spaniard rarely looked like troubling him, even though he tried desperately throughout to upset the rhythm of his opponent with some heavy baseline hitting.

The holder’s next opponent will be world number 24 Fernando Gonzalez, who beat Russian Mikhail Youzhny 7-6 7-6 6-3 to become the first Chilean to reach the last eight since Ricardo Acuna in 1985.

The 24-year-old Gonzalez made it in style, too, having not lost a set in any of his four matches.

The man from Santiago, who won a gold medal at the Athens Olympics, said: “I talked the other day with Ricardo Acuna. I hope that we don’t have to wait 20 more years to have another one in the quarters.”

Feliciano Lopez claimed his second major scalp to become the first Spaniard to reach the quarter-finals since Manuel Orantes in 1972.

The 23-year-old Lopez followed up his third-round defeat of Marat Safin with a 6-4 6-4 6-2 win over 10th seed Mario Ancic, last year’s surprise semi-finalist.

The 26th-seeded Spaniard, who has proved to be at home on grass, took full advantage of Ancic’s misfiring serve to reach the last eight of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.

“I played at my best today,” said Lopez, who will face 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt tomorrow.

“I just want to play in the next round as well as I did today. For sure it is going to be a tough match. He is one of the best players in the world.”

Hewitt held off a spirited challenge from big-serving American Taylor Dent to reach his third quarter-final.

Former Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson maintained his 100% record against Max Mirnyi to reach the last eight for the first time in nine attempts.

The 30-year-old Swede, seeded 12, triumphed 6-4 7-5 6-4.

Johansson’s next opponent will be David Nalbandian, the Brazilian 18th seed who followed up his third-round win over Britain’s Andy Murray with a comfortable victory 6-4 7-7 6-0, over another teenager, Richard Gasquet, of France.

Last year’s runner-up Andy Roddick maintained his impressive form with a 6-3 7-6 6-4 win against Argentina’s Guillermo Coria.

“I feel like I’m hitting the ball pretty well,” he said. “I got through a couple of tough situations today so I feel good.”

Roddick now meets his practice partner Grosjean, who was a 6-4 6-7 6-3 3-6 6-1 winner against Dmitry Tursunov.

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