Federer sees off Malisse
Six-time champion given injury scare but comes through in four sets
Last Updated: July 2, 2012 5:18pm
Roger Federer: Safely through to the quarter-finals
Roger Federer overcame an injury scare to reach the last eight of Wimbledon with a 7-6 (7/1) 6-1 4-6 6-3 victory over Xavier Malisse.
The six-time champion progressed to his 33rd consecutive grand slam quarter-final despite looking far from his best in cold and windy conditions on Centre Court.
Federer left the court for treatment on a back problem after the eighth game of the first set but that did not stop him taking a two-set lead and then eventually completing the win after his Belgian opponent had pulled a set back.
The Swiss player was forced to save three break points early in the first set before taking a medical time-out, during which he left the court.
With Federer moving gingerly on his return Malisse seized the initiative, breaking Federer to go 6-5 ahead before the third seed struck back immediately.
Malisse then capitulated in the tie-break as he made three unforced errors to hand Federer the set before the players were forced off due to rain.
Following an inspection the players returned 35 minutes later, with the roof remaining open despite the light drizzle.
Federer, still not enjoying a full range of movement, avoided getting involved in baseline rallies and instead opted for softer drop shots to prevent him from putting his injured back to the test.
The tactic worked as Federer engineered a break point in the third game and Malisse completely mis-timed a forehand to send the ball flying into the stands. Federer then broke again to quickly wrap up the set.
Malisse fought back by breaking in the opening game of the third set, however, and had two more chances to break in the fifth. The fact he did not take them did not matter as he kept his cool to serve out the set.
A superb backhand from Malisse gave him an immediate break in the fourth set but this time Federer responded, levelling the match when his opponent spooned a forehand wide in the fourth game.
Federer, who by this point was moving well again, broke again in the sixth game when Malisse netted and the 30-year-old clinched victory with a powerful ace three games later.
Federer will play Mikhail Youzhny in the quarter-finals after the Russian claimed a 6-3 5-7 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 7-5 win over Denis Istomin.