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Federer v Ancic as it happened

Men's singles fourth round result:

R FEDERER (Swi) 1 v M Ancic (Cro)

6-1 7-5 6-4


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By Tom Fordyce at Wimbledon

Federer 6-4 Ancic
Ace number 14, ace number 15, and that's it - a dominant display from the smiling Swiss master. Standing ovation from all concerned. How do you improve on that?

Federer 5-4 Ancic
Mario hides his head under his towel again. Warm up Andy Murray - you'll be on in ten minutes.

Federer 5-3 Ancic
Utterly untroubled again from the five-time champion - a hold to love to move within a game of his sixth consecutive Wimbledon semi.

Federer 4-3 Ancic
Apparently Ancic graduated from law school in Split last year after writing a 68-page thesis called "ATP Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow". At least he'll have more material for the Federer chapter after this close-up examination.

Federer 4-2 Ancic
Last game with the old balls, but it doesn't make a jot of difference to Champ. He barrels through to love, the only exertion the occasional flick of his fringe away from his eyes.

Federer 3-2 Ancic
Out comes the Fed backhand once again - a rapier that cuts Ancic to pieces at 15-30 to bring up two break points. Mario flails wearily into the net, and that might just be that.

Federer 2-2 Ancic
Crashing two-handed backhand cross-court from Mario gives him his first 0-30 on the Fedserve all match. That's as good as it gets - Fed slams the door shut with two brutal forehand slammers.

Federer 1-2 Ancic
Anything you can do, says Mario, clattering through a love service game in about 55 seconds. Bright sunshine now on Centre, and here comes the trainer. Looks like he is just sorting out that left-knee strapping - no great dramas.

Federer 1-1 Ancic
Mario's called for the trainer, although it might just be that the tape around his left knee has come unstuck. Fed flashes a backhand cross-court and then goes the other way with a whip-cracker cross-court to draw level. One minute 14 seconds, that one - Ancic looks suitably chastised.

Federer 0-1 Ancic
Federer senses blood. He creams a one-hander backhand onto Mario's laces to go to 30-0 on the Ancic serve. Two thumpers on the Mario serve pull him level at 30-30 before an Agassiesque forehand service return from Fed howitzers past a stunned Ancic. Fed fails to put away a deep testing overhead and allows Ancic to fight his way back with scampering purpose, but then comes up with a backhand so beautiful you'd marry it on the spot. Ancic fights back - he crashes an overhead down and away into row H and then draws Fed to the net to force a foolish lob. 10 minutes in, he digs deep for an ace only to be pegged back to a sixth deuce by a backhand return that deserves immortality. A body-serve like a Michael Holding bouncer has Federer leaping; a forehand volley that had to be punished is left off the hook. Break point is saved by a boomer out wide but set up again with a running top-spin forehand from Fed that would have been the shot of the match had it not been for those two backhands earlier.

Think we better start a new paragraph. Ancic drives deep on the forehand to bring up deuce no.10, does the same again to go to advantage and then volleys away with a roar to finally hang on for dear life. That game lasted 16 minutes - the entire first set only took 20.


Federer 7-5 Ancic
Mario has a finger-hold on a chance at 0-15 when he stretches every inch to dink a forehand volley dropper just over the net. But that's as good as it gets for him, Fed whipping a forehand down the line and then crashing through his ninth ace to seal the set. Looks as flustered as a man asleep in his favourite armchair, Roger.

Federer 6-5 Ancic
What a time for Mario to wobble on his volleys. He duffs one into the net and then, on the first break point of the set, produces his second double-fault of the match. In the VIP seats, Mirka beams with undisguised happiness.

Federer 5-5 Ancic
Looking all over like a tie-break here. Ancic takes his turn to take a service spanking. Full house now; all eyes glued on the white-clad gladiators.

Federer 4-5 Ancic
Fed reaches for a fresh racquet before staring down the barrel of the booming Ancic serve. He's blown away in seconds, and neither player can get within shouting distance of a break point.

Federer 4-4 Ancic
Both players now easing through the gears and producing close to their best. Fed holds to love again with the dead-eyed accuracy of a sniper and a forehand off his toes that missiles onto the opposite baseline with fizzing menace.

Federer 3-4 Ancic
Super duelling from the baseline at 30-30 on the Ancic serve, the leggy Croat chasing down two backhand rippers cross-court from Champ before drawing the error on the other side and crashing a long-armed serve into the back-boards. Hold on - a watery sun limps out from behind the clouds, and weak shadows are visible on Centre Court.

Federer 3-3 Ancic
Unconfirmed reports from a lady next to me with binoculars trained on the Royal Box that Jimmy Tarbuck just nodded off. Roger, heroically unflustered by that snub, races through a nerveless service game with a snapper of a serve down the middle.

Federer 2-3 Ancic
Ancic has clearly had a stern word with himself during the two-hour rain-off - he's moving as smoothly as a skinny man of 6' 5" can do, and the big serve is kicking like a panciked mule.

Federer 2-2 Ancic
Titters abound as Mario frames a return high into the crowd, where a chap in Panama hat and blazer flaps at the catch like Monty P and spills it into the row behind. Fed then blasts a simple mid-court forehand six feet long to shocked gasps before aceing down the T to bag the game.

Federer 1-2 Ancic
Good re-start from Super Mario, a boomer out wide that Fed can only frame sideways and another the other way to send Rog scurrying. Ancic goes to his chair and drapes a towel over his head in the manner of ET in Elliot's bike-basket.

1627: Hello again - all good? As the sound of the Scissor Sisters booms out on Radio Wimbledon, the two players jog back out onto Centre Court. If you don't feel like dancing at that news, you're on the wrong story.

A quick glance into the Royal Box reveals the presence of former England and Middlesex skipper Mike Brearley, but no sign yet of Jay-Z. I imagine he's sipping a Pimms down at the Aorangi food court with Andrew Castle before getting stuck into a rhymefest with John 'Sweet-Lips' Lloyd.

"I managed to persuade my girlfriend that Downfall was a board game based on the film and that you played the part of Hitler in the last days of WW2. I felt smug for literally minutes after that."
James via text on 81111

Federer 1-1 Ancic
Fed drills serves in with the precision of a eye surgeon, but the ball is now skidding away on the slippery court and as he goes to his chair the umpire suspends play. Groans from the crowd - don't they appreciate that they could be watching history? This could be the last time rain halts play on Centre - the sliding roof will be in place by this time next year.

It's raining at Wimbledon

Bad news from Lady Sue of Barker is that the rain's likely to hang around for about an hour and a half. Anyone for a game of Downfall?

Federer 0-1 Ancic
Small relief at last for the leggy Croatian as he survives another groundstroke grilling to hold and move his nose in front. Another familiar face in the Royal Box - Alan Titchmarsh, this time. Which member of the Royal family is he related to?

"He just can't lose a set Federer. Who will manage to win three against him in a match? Nadal's the only one."
JT_BlueForever on 606


Federer 6-1 Ancic
20 minutes, that took - the best set of tennis anyone's come up with in the entire tournament. Fed holds to love, and Ancic slumps on his chair with the shell-shocked look of a man who's just woken up with a hangover on a Navy sailing ship bound for the Barbary Coast.

Federer 5-1 Ancic
Mario fails to dismiss a racy volley at the net and takes a rapid Fed return amidships for his troubles. Fed then flips a backhand into the net but lines up another break point with a backhand cross-court pass that comes as such an impossible angle that I'm already doubting I actually saw it. A forehand service return is past Ancic before his follow-through is over and that's another break. Rain holding off for now, though - keep 'em crossed.

Federer 4-1 Ancic
Uh-oh - few spots of rain in the air, and Mirka turns her face towards the heavens in the VIP seats. Her boyfriend holds with serving as accurate as William Tell's arrows.

Federer 3-1 Ancic
First ace of the day from Mario as he finally fires up his engines to get on the board. Applause from Bruce Forsyth, perched in the Royal Box in a neat grey suit. Is that Jimmy Tarbuck a few seats along? I think it is.

Federer 3-0 Ancic
Simplest of hold to love for Rog - Ancic is yet to win a point on the Fed serve. Just been enjoying some footage of the 2002 battle between these two, and the biggest shock was seeing Federer's seldom-lamented pony-tail. Today his floppy fringe is giving him the look of Quentin Tarantino in a boy-band.

Federer 2-0 Ancic
Trickiness for Mario from the off - Roger breezes a one-handed backhand pass down the line and then draws two volley errors with dipping returns to Ancic's ankles. When another Mario volley eats tape the break has gone. Gloomy.

Federer 1-0 Ancic
Rock-solid volley at the net; aces one and two. Roger's prowling around with the ease befitting a man who's spent less time on court that anyone else in the quarter-finals - a mere six hours 31 minutes, compared to Ancic's 11 hours 43 minutes.

1350: The two gladiators stroll onto court under overcast clouds to happy clapping from the wrapped-up patrons around Centre Court. Roger peels off the cardigan over his head without undoing the buttons - rock 'n' roll.

1345: There's been a lot of banging on about the fact that Ancic is the last beat to beat Rog at Wimbledon, but since then he's lost five matches on the trot against Champ. Actually, since that win six years ago, he's only taken one set off Federer.

1341:To be fair, it's not that bad out there at the moment. I'm even wearing shorts, although you can put that down to a combination of bravado and bad planning on the laundry front.

1340: Rain, rain, go away, come again another, er, week - preferably one in November, when no-one will notice the difference.

see also
Live - Wimbledon day nine
02 Jul 08 |  Tennis
Men's singles latest
02 Jun 08 |  Live scores
Wimbledon photos
02 Jul 08 |  Tennis

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