Wimbledon: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams — players with a combined 12 Wimbledon titles — all won in straight sets Saturday to move into the fourth round and keep up their pursuit of even more championship trophies at the All England Club.
Six-time champion Federer beat David Nalbandian 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 to move closer to equaling the record of seven Wimbledon singles titles held by Pete Sampras and 1880s player Willie Renshaw. Two-time winner and defending champion Rafael Nadal committed only three unforced errors in a 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 6-0 victory over Gilles Muller, a 92nd-ranked wild card from Luxembourg.
Williams, chasing a third straight title and fifth overall in her comeback from nearly a year out with serious health problems, served 10 aces in beating 26th-seeded Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-2.
Another former champion, 2004 winner Maria Sharapova, also reached the round of 16, downing Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-3.
Other winners included top-ranked woman Caroline Wozniacki, former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro and last year's runner-up Tomas Berdych.
The sun came out and the roof stayed open on Centre Court as the tournament neared completion of all third-round matches in time for the traditional rest day on Sunday. Monday's schedule will feature all men's and women's fourth-round matches, the busiest day in Grand Slam tennis.
Federer was broken once in the first set but dominated the rest of the way on Centre Court against Nalbandian, the 2002 Wimbledon runner-up from Argentina. Nalbandian received treatment on his right thigh several times but showed no visible sign of injury.
It was the 19th career meeting between the two, with Federer now leading 11-8.
"A guy who can beat me eight times knows how to do it nine times, and that's why I'm really pleased to come through," said Federer, whose only wobble came when he blew an easy smash on his first match point.
Federer, who lost to Berdych in the quarterfinals in 2010, said he is playing better than last year. He hasn't dropped a set so far.
"Maybe I'm just a bit more confident on my serve," he said. "And then obviously more relaxed on the baseline and on the return, and it seems like it's working. But it's only the first week, and I hope I can keep it going."
Nadal, who has met Federer in three finals, put on a masterful display on Court 1. In a match suspended because of darkness after the first set Friday, Nadal never lost serve against Muller — the last player other than Federer to beat the Spaniard at Wimbledon, in the second round in 2005.
Nadal, who saved two break points in the first set, had no unforced errors Saturday in the second set. Muller managed to stay even until he sliced a backhand into the net after a long rally to give Nadal a 6-5 edge in the tiebreaker. The Spaniard closed the set on the next point with a forehand winner, then won six straight games, finishing with an ace.
It's the first time Nadal has advanced to the round of 16 here without losing a set.
Nadal said he felt discomfort in his right leg, but that it was not related to the two heavy falls he took at the baseline during the match.
"I started to feel the leg a little bit more tired than usual," he said. "But I played today without problems, and now I (have) one day and a half to rest and recover. I hope it will be perfect for Monday."
That's when Nadal will face Del Potro, who beat Gilles Simon 7-6 (8), 7-6 (5), 7-5 and showed he is nearing top form after missing most of 2010 after surgery on his right wrist.
"He's a fantastic player. He's one of the best players of the world," Nadal said. "It will be a fantastic test and I have to be playing my best if I want to have chances."
Williams picked up her first straight-set win in five matches since she returned this month after being away from the tour for nearly a year because of a series of health scares, including blood clots in her lungs.
The seventh-seeded American is trying to become the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1991-93 to win three consecutive titles at the All England Club.
Against Kirilenko, Williams saved the only break point she faced and put together a 32-9 edge in winners.
"The matches are getting better, my serve is getting better, so it's just getting the rhythm that I've been missing a little bit, and it's good," Williams said. "I just want to continue to serve better like I did today, and just hold on out there and just move, and just really more than anything enjoy myself and stay focused."
Williams next faces 2007 Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli, the ninth-seeded Frenchwoman who beat Flavia Pennetta 5-7, 6-4, 9-7.
Sharapova, the only champion in the women's draw other than the Williams sisters, struggled with her game but still progressed relatively easily against Zakopalova. The fifth-seeded Russian — watched by her fiance, New Jersey Nets guard Sasha Vujacic — had 21 unforced errors and four double-faults in an inconsistent baseline performance in the wind on Court 2.
But, after falling behind 3-1 in the second set, Sharapova lifted her game to win five games in a row to finish off the 35th-ranked Czech player.
Sharapova hasn't reached the semifinals since 2006. She will next face 20th-seeded Peng Shuai of China, who beat Melinda Czink of Hungary 6-2, 7-6 (5).
Wozniacki, still looking for her first Grand Slam title, swept Jarmila Gajdosova 6-3, 6-2 to make the fourth round for the third straight year. Wimbledon is the only major championship in which the Dane has not reached at least the quarterfinals.
Sixth-seeded Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion, lost to Tamira Paszek of Austria in a three-set marathon — 3-6, 6-4, 11-9.
Berdych, the sixth-seeded Czech, needed only seven points to complete a 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 win over Alex Bogomolov Jr. of the U.S.. The match had been suspended because of rain with Berdych leading 4-3, 15-0 in the third set Friday.
Berdych will next play 10th-seeded Mardy Fish, the last American man left in the tournament. He advanced when Robin Haase retired at 1-1 in the fourth set because of injuries. Fish was up two sets to one, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2.
Ninth-seeded Gael Monfils lost to 93rd-ranked Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Kubot, who won three qualifying matches to get into the main draw, is the first Pole to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon since Wojtek Fibak in 1981.
No. 18 Ana Ivanovic, a former top-ranked player and 2008 French Open champion, was knocked out by Petra Cetkovska, 6-2, 7-6 (0).
First Published: Saturday, June 25, 2011, 23:32