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Federer and Murray advance at SW19
04 Jul 2015 21:09
Roger Federer showed that you need more in your arsenal than a bullet serve if you want to seriously trouble the game’s top players at Wimbledon as he snuffed out the threat of Sam Groth in four sets on Centre Court.
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Federer's Australian opponent holds the record for the fastest ever delivery in tennis and regularly launched 140mph missiles, but only briefly threatened the Swiss's serene progress to the fourth round and eventually succumbed 6-4 6-4 6-7(7/5) 6-2.
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Groth briefly slowed Federer's bid for a record-breaking eighth Wimbledon title by holding serve throughout the third set and forcing a tiebreak that he clinched when the second seed misjudged a forehand at set point.
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Yet Federer was in no mood to let his stranglehold slip and broke for a 2-0 lead in the fourth and then again to close out the match.
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The imposing figure of Groth rekindles memories of the dominant figures at Wimbledon in the 1990s when a sledgehammer serve could propel you into the latter stages at the All England Club.
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Nowadays, however, the pinnacle of the men's game is populated with more refined talents and none more so than Federer.
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He scythed through the first two sets against Groth breaking once in both and even out-aced the Australian 6-3 in the second.
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Groth, whose fastest delivery of 147mph fell just short of Taylor Dent's 2010 Wimbledon record of 148, held his nerve throughout the third, but his inability to lay a glove on the Federer serve proved his ultimate downfall in the match.
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He could not engineer a single break point throughout the two hour 16 minute contest and was put to the sword when Federer fired a rasping return on match point that dipped into Groth's shoelaces as he charged to the net.
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"I am very happy. It has been a hot week the first week but thankfully I have had easy matches going through without too many long four or five setters," said Federer, who now faces 20th seed Roberto Bautista Agut after the Spaniard saw off Georgian qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6 (7/4) 6-0 6-1.
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Andy Murray is the last Briton standing in the singles after he overcame a third-set blip to beat Italy's Andreas Seppi and book his place in the fourth round.
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Murray looked on course for a comfortable victory after cruising to a two-set lead but two medical time-outs, one for each player, prompted two remarkable shifts in momentum as the Scot eventually came through 6-2 6-2 1-6 6-1.
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Seppi won six games in a row in the third set after taking treatment on his shin but Murray, visibly perturbed, returned the favour at the start of the fourth, calling for attention to his shoulder and winning every game thereafter.
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The British number one said the shoulder felt "fine" after the match but there was undoubtedly a psychological element to the stoppages, which so clearly dictated the direction of the match.
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"My shoulder is fine," Murray told the BBC.
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"Towards the end of the second set it was tightening up next to my shoulder blade, and when he took the injury time-out it cooled down a bit, so the trainer came out and manipulated my back with a few cracks.
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"It wasn't that pleasant but it helped."
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Ivo Karlovic now awaits in the fourth round and Murray will be confident against the big-serving Croatian, who has yet to beat the number three seed in five attempts and lost in four when the pair met in the Wimbledon second round three years ago.
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"It will be a very different match, most of the points were played from the back of the court today but Ivo comes into the net a lot," Murray said.
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"He's served very well in this tournament so my returns will have to be on if I want to get through that one."
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Veteran Karlovic set up a fourth-round clash with home favourite Murray by pulling off a surprise four-set victory over Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
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The 36-year-old from Zagreb rained down 41 aces to take his tournament haul to 136 in three matches, underlining where his threat lies, in a 7-6 (7/3) 4-6 7-6 (7/2) 7-6 (11-9) win on Court Three.
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It was a tough defeat to take for Tsonga, who did not drop a game on his serve at any stage in the match. Karlovic, who stands 6ft 11in tall, struck decisively on a third match point in the third tie-break by sweeping a forehand into the open half of the court.
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