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Federer ends British hopes in men's draw

Federer ends British hopes in men's draw
July 4, 2021

LONDON (Reuters) –Apparently if there was a perfect time to topple Roger Federer early at Wimbledon, this was the year -- so believed Cameron Norrie and his vast legion of British fans.

A dogged 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 third-round win for Federer on Saturday told its own story.

Hopes that the 29th seed could stop Federer’s pursuit of a men’s record ninth All England Club title reached fever pitch after 338th-ranked British wildcard Emma Raducanu had defied the odds to reach the last 16 moments before Norrie walked onto Centre Court for his showdown with the Swiss supremo.

The fact that Federer had barely played in 18 months and was still in the tournament after his lucky escape against Adrian Mannarino in the first round, with the injured Frenchman quitting when the match was at two sets all, also raised hopes of an upset win for the last British man left in the singles draw.

But Federer, with his surgically patched-up knees and his 39-year-old battle-hardened body, showed that he is prepared to take as many knocks as it takes to keep alive his dreams of once again holding aloft the pineapple-topped Challenge Cup.

Just what facing Federer on the world’s most famous tennis stage does to the nerves was evident in the opening game of the match when Norrie kept misfiring his serve to produce three double faults.

While he survived that inauspicious start, Norrie was left floundering in the seventh game when Federer broke him to love. That was enough to give the sixth seed the opening set.

The second set again started with a bit of misfortune for the Briton, who struck a ball that bounced into the stands and hit a little boy in the face. After making sure the child was OK, he tossed an official Wimbledon towel to the boy.