By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) – Ruthless Roger Federer raced into his 17th Wimbledon quarter-final with a 6-1 6-2 6-2 demolition of Matteo Berrettini on Monday but, contrary to what the scoreline suggests, this did not require a masterclass from the Swiss great.
In truth, a match that on paper looked as if it might provide his first big test of the tournament as he chases a ninth title was a no-contest as his 23-year-old Italian opponent self-destructed on Centre Court.
From the moment Federer broke in the fourth game with a silky smooth smash, any tactical plan a dazed Berrettini took on court with him unravelled in spectacular fashion.
After losing the first set in 17 minutes and the second in not much longer he disappeared off court — presumably to try and locate a panic room somewhere in the All England Club.
When he returned Berrettini found even more unusual ways to gift points to eight-time champion Federer, notably when he dribbled a dreadful attempt at a drop-volley into the net with Federer out of position behind the baseline.
Even the 37-year-old Swiss, anxious to save energy and get off court quickly as dark clouds gathered, looked aghast, shaking his head at the ineptitude of his opponent’s error.
It was a shame for Berrettini, who was hoping to become only the fifth Italian to reach the quarter-finals here, as he is clearly a much better player than this performance suggested.
There was sympathetic applause from the crowd when he did connect properly but Federer was having none of it as a sweet volley put Berrettini out of his misery in one hour 14 minutes.
Second seed Federer will face eighth-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori for a place in the semi-finals.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)