Roger Federer has the most grand slams, Rafael Nadal eventually might and Novak Djokovic has them both covered head-to-head.

So go part of the arguments amid endless debates about who the greatest men's player of all time is.

Those discussions will persist for decades to come, like there is somehow a right answer to separate Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, who have won 54 grand slam singles titles between them.

Djokovic edged Federer in a classic Wimbledon final on Sunday, winning 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) in a match lasting just shy of five hours.

That took the 32-year-old up to 16 major singles triumphs, closer to Federer (20) and Nadal (18).

But will that final tally even matter as much as some think? Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi are all titans of the Open Era. They won 49 between them, and only Agassi completed a career Grand Slam by claiming the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

Djokovic, Nadal and Federer are all-time greats. The sports world is blessed to have the trio still going head-to-head, producing matches like the latest one between the Swiss maestro and Serbian star at the All England Club.

The final major tally will never be enough to settle the conversation and for good reason: namely, how different the greats are.

The ever-popular Federer is loved by purists for the brilliant serve, effortless movement and glorious shot-making. Nadal? The forehand, intensity and previously unseen – and probably never to be seen again – dominance of a major at the French Open. Djokovic? The best returner, turning defence into offence so easily he has found a way to beat Federer and Nadal more often than not.

Why must one be the greatest when all three are the greatest at different, admirable aspects?

The debate about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will rage for decades to come, too, and they are also so different that both can, and should, be enjoyed, if some can for one moment put aside Ballons d'Or, trophies, goals, assists and whatever other numbers suit their views.

Even if just for a moment, forget tallies and appreciate greatness, because the Big Three in men's tennis deserve it.

Roger Federer admits clashes with Novak Djokovic can be "brutal" for the loser given how well matched the two players are, but he is relishing Sunday's Wimbledon final.

Eight-time All England Club champion Federer's reward for a thrilling four-set victory over Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals is a meeting with another fellow great in Djokovic, who defeated Roberto Bautista Agut.

The two are certainly no strangers to one another, playing 47 times on the ATP Tour with Djokovic edging the overall record on 25 wins.

The world number one has also won their past two contests at Wimbledon and Federer expects fine margins to decide a hard-fought affair.

"It's the same as going into a Rafa match," the Swiss said. "I think the moment you've played somebody probably more than 15 times, especially in recent years also a few times, there's not that much more left out there.

"When you know where the players go when it really matters, how much can you still surprise somebody?

"At the end of the day, it comes very much down to who's better on the day, who's in a better mental place, who's got more energy left, who's tougher when it really comes to the crunch.

"In tennis, there's always somebody who's going to be a little bit better because there's no draws in our sport. It's always quite brutal sometimes.

"I don't want to say always the better player wins, but sometimes it can be tough. Like [against Nadal], he could have broken in that last game somehow and we could still be playing. Who knows?

"I'm excited about the game against Novak. We've played each other so, so much. I don't mind that, I think it's more of a clear game plan.

"We had a great match against each other in Paris just recently [Djokovic won 7-6 (8-6) 5-7 7-6 (7-3)]. I hope we can back it up from there."

Federer's preparation for the showpiece will be limited, but he is confident he is well set to continue his fine form at Wimbledon.

"I don't have much energy to go train very much right now," he said. "Honestly, it's about recovery, hitting some balls [on Saturday], warming up the next day. But it's more in the tactics.

"I don't think there's much I need to do in terms of practice. This is like a school: the day of the test you're not going to read however many books that day. You don't have the time anyhow.

"It's quite clear the work was done way before. I think that's why I was able to produce a good result [against Nadal].

"It's been a rock-solid year from me, winning in Halle. The stars are aligned right now. From that standpoint, I can go into that match very confident."

Roberto Bautista Agut might return to Wimbledon on his stag party after losing to Novak Djokovic and one young spectator raised eyebrows as he read a book rather than watch Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal do battle.

Bautista Agut was due in Ibiza with a half a dozen friends this week, but they left the party island to watch him at the All England Club after he reached the semi-finals.

Defending champion Djokovic failed to read the script, knocking the Spaniard out in four sets on Centre Court.

There were gasps throughout the grounds as Federer and Nadal served up another classic, which the Swiss legend won to set up a showdown with Djokovic, but it seemed not everyone was totally captivated.

Catch up on what was happening at the grass-court grand slam on Friday.

BAUTISTA AGUT TO MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME

Bautista Agut was happy to miss out on a few days of celebration with his friends, but is ready to let his hair down over the weekend. And his time at Wimbledon may not be over.

"Now I think I deserve some vacations. We will have some time off after that," he said.

Asked about the Ibiza trip, he revealed: "We had everything reserved from Thursday or Wednesday until Sunday. They all knew before it was a small chance I would be here, me playing in the quarter-finals. Well, it was nice.

"I think they really had a good plan. They spent Wednesday in Ibiza. They came to watch a good match, the semi-final of Wimbledon. Maybe tomorrow we come back."

 

NOT ALL EYES ON CHAPTER 40 OF FEDERER-NADAL

It seemed impossible to take your eyes off a captivating 40th battle between Federer and Nadal.

Two of the all-time greats struck 83 winners between them, drawing roars of approval from a packed Centre Court crowd and thousands around the grounds.

Tickets were like gold dust for a pulsating contest that will live long in the memory, yet one young boy in the crowd was spotted reading a book rather than being transfixed on the action.

Here is hoping he did not miss too much of chapter 40 of their great rivalry.

COINS READY FOR LIFT-OFF

The coins used for the toss ahead of the finals will definitely not be scaling new heights.

NASA astronaut Drew Feustal took the pair of bespoke gold coins to space last year after All England Tennis Club chairman Philip Brook came up with the idea at the 2017 championships.

They travelled to the International Space Station aboard Mission 56 in a journey that will be featured in a new one-minute film called "The Coin Toss."

It will be the stars who are crowned Wimbledon champions who are feeling out of this world this weekend.

Roger Federer says his semi-final win over Rafael Nadal on Friday "had everything" and will go down as one of his favourite Wimbledon memories but he was glad when it was over.

Federer won another epic battle with his old foe 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 6-4 at the All England Club to set up a showdown with Novak Djokovic.

The Swiss legend produced a majestic performance on Centre Court 11 years after he lost to Nadal in a classic final the last time they met in the grass-court grand slam.

Federer has won eight titles at SW19 and ranks his win over Nadal as one of the best experiences he has had in the tournament.

Asked where it would rate among his displays in south-west London, Federer said: "Obviously extremely high. It's always very, very cool to play against Rafa here, especially because we haven't played in so long.

"It lived up to the hype, especially from coming out of the gates, we were both playing very well. Then the climax at the end with the crazy last game, some tough rallies there.

"It had everything at the end, which was great, I guess. I'm just relieved it's all over at this point.

"But it's definitely, definitely going to go down as one of my favourite matches to look back at, again, because it's Rafa, it's at Wimbledon, the crowds were into it, great weather.

"I felt like I played good throughout the four sets. I can be very happy."

Federer was in no mood to celebrate, though, with such a huge match to come on Sunday.

"Age kicks in. I know it's not over yet. There's no point to start partying tonight or get too emotional, too happy about it, even though I am extremely happy," he said.

"I think I can with experience really separate the two. If it was the end of the tournament, it would be very different right now. I'd be speaking very different, feeling very different. There is, unfortunately or fortunately, one more.

"It's great on many levels. But I've got to put my head down and stay focused, you know."

Rafael Nadal expressed his sadness after he was beaten by Roger Federer in a classic Wimbledon semi-final but acknowledged his rival deserved to win.

Federer will face Novak Djokovic in his 12th final at the All England Club following a 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 6-4 victory on a glorious Friday.

Nadal beat the 20-time grand slam champion in an epic final the last time they met at SW19 in 2008, but was unable to pull off a repeat on Centre Court 11 years later.

The Spaniard was left to rue a chance to win the grass-court major for only the third time, but doffed his cap to the imperious Swiss master.  

"I'm sad for the loss because for me it was another opportunity," said the 18-time grand slam winner.

"But at the same time I created another opportunity to be in another final of a grand slam. I just have to accept that was not my day. I played a great event. I take this in a positive way.

"At the same time, today is sad because for me I know chances are not forever. Last year I had chances here, I had another one, and I was not able to convert to win it one more time here.

"It was a tough one. He played a little bit better than me, I think. Probably I didn't play as good as I did in the previous rounds, and he played well. So he deserves it. Congratulations to him."

There was a shake of the head from Roger Federer as he walked off Centre Court with roars reverberating around Wimbledon following another titanic tussle with Rafael Nadal.

Eleven years after he was beaten by Nadal in a classic final when they last met at SW19, it was the Swiss maestro who came out on top in the 40th edition of one of the great rivalries.

A buzz of anticipation over another epic showdown could be felt around the All England Club from the moment two legends sealed their passage into the semi-finals.

The thousands who packed into one of the most famous arenas on the planet perched on the edge of their seats as they witnessed the majestic Federer triumph 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 6-4, setting up a clash with Novak Djokovic on Sunday.

For three hours and two minutes those fortunate to have a ticket were mesmerised, looking on in disbelief at an astonishing exhibition between two icons who have 38 grand slam titles between them.

There were 51 winners unleashed from the racket of Federer, the 20-time major champion, and 32 from Spaniard Nadal just over a month after he blew his old foe away in the wind at the same stage of the French Open.

The two sporting heavyweights were given a rapturous ovation as they strode out with a spring in their step in the sun, but you could have heard a pin drop when a mouthwatering contest got under way.

At the same auditorium where a sleeveless top revealed his bulging muscles and locks flowed to the bottom of his neck whey they locked horns in 2008, the intense Nadal still resembled a caged tiger ready to hunt his prey.

Federer, with a steely focus in his eyes, was like a coiled spring a month before he turns 38, coming forward at every opportunity as they traded punches in a tight first set.

It was first blood Federer after he twice came from a mini-break down to win a tense tie-break, but Nadal yanked up his sweat bands and barely put a foot wrong as he charged around the court at blistering speed to level a gripping match.

There would have been concerns for Federer fans when he skewed a forehand high into the crowd, yet he was calmness personified in the third, racing across the turf and aggressively moving a set away from another final.

Federer won a 25-shot rally in that third set and showed no signs of fatigue in the fourth, swatting away a majestic inside-out cross-court forehand winner before breaking to lead 2-1.

A rattled Nadal bellowed in the direction of his box as a calm Federer continued to draw gasps from the stands and way beyond in another masterclass.

Yet Nadal was never going to go down without a fight and many rose to their feet when he fizzed a thunderous backhand beyond Federer before he had a chance to react.

Nadal saved four match points in style, but Federer lifted his arms into the blue sky on a glorious Friday evening after reaching a 12th Wimbledon final.

He was among the majority who were shaking their head at the latest incredible show he and Nadal had served up. 

Roger Federer exacted a measure of Wimbledon revenge over his great rival Rafael Nadal in Friday's semi-final to set up a showdown with defending champion Novak Djokovic in this year's showpiece.

Eleven years ago Nadal came out on top in a final considered one of the finest matches ever played - one that spanned five sets and almost five hours - but in their first Wimbledon meeting since, it was Federer who emerged victorious 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 6-4.

Eight-time Wimbledon champion Federer, who turns 38 next month, took a first-set tie-break and though he lost his way as Nadal levelled up the contest, it was the second seed who stepped up a gear on his favourite surface.

Clay-court king Nadal had won the last meeting between these two in straight sets in this year's French Open semi-final, but grass is more Federer's domain, and he broke the Spaniard early in both the third and fourth sets before closing out a brilliant victory in just over three hours.

There was little to separate the pair early on, with just five points dropped on serve across the opening seven games.

Federer brought up the first break point in the next game but Nadal won a 21-shot rally and the two headed for a breaker, with the Swiss coming from 3-2 behind and forging ahead with a crunching forehand winner.

At 1-1 in the second set, Federer had two break opportunities but could seize neither and he appeared to lose his way when his opponent reeled off five games in a row, the 20-time grand slam champion at one point wildly miscuing a shot at the net into the crowd to be broken for a second time in a row.

But he was back on song in the next, brilliantly outduelling Nadal at the net and then fending off three break points to go 4-1 up, bringing up set point with a classic backhand down the line and then holding to love.

Nadal started the fourth set with a double fault and lost his second service game, Federer appearing to have an extra spring in his step as he manoeuvred his feet to dispatch a brilliant forehand winner.

Two match points on the Nadal serve came and went, and the Spaniard netted a backhand with a chance to make it 5-5, but Federer eventually got the job done at the fifth time of asking and advanced to a 12th Wimbledon final where he will meet Djokovic, who beat the Swiss in both 2014 and 2015.

Eleven years on from their last classic encounter at Wimbledon, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal declared "we are still here" as they prepare to do battle for a 40th time.

Rivals of two of the all-time greats certainly need no reminder of that ahead of their semi-final on Friday.

With 38 grand slam titles between them, Federer and Nadal have stood the test of time and they are still going strong.

The legendary duo could only have dreamed of what they would go on to achieve when they first faced each other in Miami way back in 2004.

Fast forward 15 years, Centre Court will be packed and millions will tune in all over the world for another mouthwatering episode of a captivating sporting rivalry.

Nadal won an epic 2008 final 6-4 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (8-10) 9-7 the last time they faced each other on the hallowed grass at SW19 and also came out on top in a last-four showdown en route to a 12th French Open title last month.

The Spaniard is expecting another almighty tussle with an old foe who secured a record 100th singles win at the All England Club at Kei Nishikori's expense on Wednesday.

"I expect to play against probably the best player in history on this surface and know that I have to play my best if I want to have chances to try to be in that final." Nadal, 33, said.

"I had a lot of defeats [against Federer]. I had a lot of victories. The relationship never changed, always big respect, a good friendship. That will probably not change if I win or if I lose.

"I'm excited about this match, excited about this opportunity to again be in that round against him. The opportunities to play against each other every time are less, but we are still here."

The mutual appreciation between the duo was clear again when Federer spoke of the challenge he faces. 

He said: "Rafa has improved so much over the years on this surface. He's playing very different than he used to. We haven't played each other in a long, long time on this surface.

"He's serving way different. I remember back in the day how he used to serve, and now how much bigger he's serving, how much faster he finishes points.

"It's impressive to see how healthy he's stayed. We're still here so it's nice to play each other again."

Rafael Nadal booked his place at the ATP Finals for a record 15th straight season with his quarter-final win over Sam Querrey at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

French Open champion Nadal triumphed 7-5 6-2 6-2 on No.1 Court to become the first player to earn a spot at the end-of-season event at the O2 Arena in London.

The 33-year-old, whose other title this season came at the Internazionali d'Italia, takes a 17-match winning run into a tantalising semi-final against eight-time Wimbledon winner Roger Federer.

Nadal has never won the Finals, his best performances coming when he finished as the runner-up in 2010 and 2013.

He has only completed seven editions of the tournament, having withdrawn during the 2017 event due to a knee problem and opted out on six occasions – ankle and abdominal issues kept him out last year.

Novak Djokovic faces Roberto Bautista Agut in the other last-four clash and victory for the world number one would see him join Nadal in guaranteeing a place in the Finals.

Rafael Nadal is excited by the "unique situation" of renewing a Wimbledon rivalry with Roger Federer, 11 years after their last meeting at SW19.

Not since their classic encounter in the 2008 final, when the Spaniard triumphed in five gruelling sets to win his first Wimbledon title, have Nadal and long-term foe Federer gone head to head at the slam.

Nadal outclassed Sam Querrey on Wednesday to set up a last-four showdown with Federer, who overcame Kei Nishikori for a 100th match win at Wimbledon.

And Nadal, who defeated Federer at the same stage of the French Open last month, appreciates opportunities to face the Swiss great on these sort of occasions are particularly special in the twilight of their careers.

"To play against Roger always is a unique situation. I'm excited to be back on this court against him after 11 years. It means a lot for me and probably for him, too," Nadal said.

"I'm excited about this opportunity to again play in that round against him. I always say the same, the opportunities to play against each other every time are less, but we are still here.

"The last two months have been very positive for me personally, probably for Roger, too, because he played good [to reach the] semi-finals at Roland Garros. He had the title in Halle. He's now in the semi-finals here again.

"That makes us keep playing because we still feel that we have chances to compete for the most important things. That's what really make us keep playing with this intensity."

Asked if his straight-sets victory over Federer at Roland Garros can aid his cause on Centre Court when they play on Friday, Nadal replied: "It's difficult to say yes or no.

"Probably it's better to have that victory than have defeat, of course. But on the other hand, it's a completely different situation."

Nadal's victory over Federer in 2008 was the third in a trilogy of consecutive finals played between the greats at Wimbledon.

Asked about his memories of those encounters, Nadal said: "We played a lot of good matches. Here in this tournament we played especially two great matches, 2007 and 2008.

"Personally 2008 was a little bit more emotional for me. But I appreciate the fact that I have been part of the 2007 match, too. Then we played a lot of matches all around [the world]. Only in New York we didn't play. That's the only bad news."

Roger Federer said he could never have envisaged winning a record 100 singles matches at Wimbledon but knows exactly what to expect from Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals.

Federer beat Kei Nishikori 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-4 to become the first man to achieve a century of victories at the same grand slam on Wednesday.

The 20-time major champion had forgotten that he had made history until he was reminded by a spectator after his latest imperious performance on Centre Court.

Eight-time Wimbledon champion Federer said: "It's special. I guess so. It's been a lot of years I've been coming here. That's given me the opportunity to win a lot naturally.

"I didn't think of it while I was playing today. Actually not at all, not once. Then as I'm signing, the guy says, 'Congratulations for your 100'. Oh, yeah, I didn't know. I forgot."

"It's nice, because if I look back at the hundred that have happened, some were so incredibly cool. Today again was a big match going into the semis, facing Rafa. Yeah, a hundred wins here at Wimbledon. Who would have thought? I didn't, for sure."

Nadal defeated Sam Querrey to set up another blockbuster showdown with his old rival 11 years after they last met at the All England Club, when the Spaniard won a classic final.

Federer said of Nadal: "He's improved so much over the years on this surface. He's playing also very different than he used to. We haven't played each other in a long, long time on this surface.

"He's serving way different. I remember back in the day how he used to serve, and now how much bigger he's serving, how much faster he finishes points.

"It's impressive to see how sort of healthy he's stayed. A lot of them are saying, 'Oh, it's the end,' by 2008. Similar to me in '09. We're still here. So it's nice to play each other again."

Rafael Nadal will face Roger Federer in a dream Wimbledon semi-final after safely negotiating his way past Sam Querrey in the last eight on Wednesday.

The Spaniard has fought through a tough draw, with Nadal not exactly keeping his counsel over his grievances, and this tie was certainly no walkover given seasoned campaigner Querrey has previous at Wimbledon.

Big-serving Querrey holds wins over Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray at SW19 and Nadal had plenty of food for thought during an exhilarating opening set on No. 1 Court.

From there, though, it was largely plain sailing as Nadal celebrated a 7-5 6-2 6-2 triumph to book a showdown with old foe Federer, who earned a 100th Wimbledon match win by beating Kei Nishikori.

It will mark the first encounter between the pair at Wimbledon since their stunning 2008 final, which Nadal - who has now qualified for November's ATP Finals - won in five breathless sets. That was a third straight title match at the tournament between two of tennis' modern greats.

A simple pass in game three on Wednesday gave Nadal the early break, but Querrey – playing a third Wimbledon quarter-final – did not wilt.

The 31-year-old saw a couple of break points go begging and had to save a couple of set points in game eight before levelling when a storming backhand forced Nadal to go wide.

It was a feeling of deja vu when Nadal broke straight back and gave up a couple of break points when serving to take the opener. This time, though, the 18-time slam winner fended off Querrey's resistance and, following a mammoth point, earned the set after 58 minutes.

Querrey's resolve was clearly on the wane when Nadal followed a punishing forehand with a drop shot to break for a 2-1 lead in the second.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Nadal had Querrey on the run in game seven to earn a couple more opportunities to break, the first of which was duly taken when the American went long.

There was no way back from there and a familiar pattern followed in the third, Nadal making the immediate break with a perfectly angled forehand.

Another forehand winner for a 4-1 lead ensured there was no way back for Querrey and set the path for the latest instalment in one of tennis' greatest rivalries. 

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Rafael Nadal [3] bt Sam Querrey 7-5 6-2 6-2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal - 44/12
Querrey - 38/22

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal - 10/2
Querrey - 22/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal - 6/16
Querrey - 1/7

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Nadal - 60
Querrey - 61

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Nadal - 82/54
Querrey - 73/28

TOTAL POINTS
Nadal - 106
Querrey - 78

Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal eased into the quarter-finals at Wimbledon with dominant displays in their respective fourth-round matches.

After Nadal easily brushed aside Joao Sousa, defending champion Djokovic made light work of Ugo Humbert 6-3 6-2 6-3.

Federer rounded off the day on Centre Court, easily dispatching world number 20 Matteo Berrettini to claim his 99th win at the grand slam.

The eight-time champion will face Kei Nishikori, who got the better of Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Djokovic will go up against David Goffin, while Sam Querrey's 6-4 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5) win over compatriot Tennys Sandgren means he will play Nadal.

Milos Raonic succumbed to Guido Pella in a tightly contested five-set encounter, with Roberto Bautista Agut making up the last eight.

 

FEDERER NEARING WIMBLEDON MILESTONE

No player has ever reached a century of wins at a single grand slam, but after breezing past Berrettini 6-1 6-2 6-2 in 74 minutes Federer is one victory away from doing just that.

The 37-year-old was in supreme form against the Italian - 14 years his junior - with Berrettini making a number of rookie mistakes in a humbling defeat.

Eighth seed Nishikori will be Federer's opponent in the quarters after he edged past Kukushkin in four sets.

"I think it's going to be tough. I remember some of the slams recently he arrived into the later stages with maybe some tough matches going into it. So far it's been really easy for him," Federer told a news conference when asked about Nishikori.

 

INEXPERIENCED HUMBERT HARDLY TESTS DJOKOVIC

Playing for the first time in the second week of a grand slam, 21-year-old Humbert offered little resistance as Djokovic took another step towards defending his crown.

Humbert found himself chasing the 15-time major winner for the majority of the match, which was wrapped up when a delightful drop shot set the Serbian up to serve it out.

"I played against a very talented player who made some big wins this tournament and definitely has a potential to reach big heights in tennis because he's got quite [an] all-around game," Djokovic told a news conference.

 

BULLISH NADAL LOOKS RAMPANT

French Open champion Nadal proved untouchable for Sousa, as the world number two cruised to a 6-2 6-2 6-2 victory on Centre Court.

Nadal hit 30 winners and converted six of eight break points in the win, which took an hour and 45 minutes.

With Federer and Djokovic likely to join him in the last four for the second straight slam, the third seed reflected on their lengthy period of dominance.

"It is special what we achieved in the last 15 years," Nadal said. "Something special, difficult to repeat I think, so many titles between three players."

Rafael Nadal refuted the suggestion Ashleigh Barty should have featured on Centre Court at Wimbledon at his expense.

Women's world number one Barty played on No.2 Court on Monday, but the French Open champion and top seed crashed out with a shock 3-6 6-2 6-3 defeat to Alison Riske, who will face Serena Williams in the quarter-finals.

Nadal, meanwhile, cruised to a convincing 6-2 6-2 6-2 triumph over Joao Sousa in the main arena.

But the second-ranked men's player did not agree with a reporter's suggestion Barty deserved to play on Centre Court, the third seed stating his status in the sport is higher than the Australian's.

"I am the world number two and I have won 18 grand slams," Nadal told a news conference.

"My answer is not no or yes. My answer is [the schedulers] make a decision. You are putting Ashleigh Barty in front of me.

"In the world of tennis today, honestly, my feeling is I am a little bit more than Ashleigh Barty, even if she is the top player in the world, won the French Open and is playing unbelievably well.

"A day like today, everybody is playing. Of course, [Novak] Djokovic is not on Centre Court. The first day, I was playing on No.1 Court."

Nadal will face Sam Querrey in the last eight after the American beat his compatriot Tennys Sandgren in their fourth-round tie.

Rafael Nadal maintained his supreme form at Wimbledon as he cruised into the quarter-finals with a dominant 6-2 6-2 6-2 win over Joao Sousa.

Nadal's coach Francisco Roig claimed the third seed was "playing without any weaknesses" at the grand slam following a brilliant display against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in round three, and the 18-time major winner was at his scintillating best in Monday's tie.

Sousa was unable to get close to the French Open champion on Centre Court, with the Portuguese - who shocked 13th seed Marin Cilic earlier in the competition - failing to claim a single break point throughout.

After some wicked shots in the final set, Nadal wrapped up the win in style on the first of three match points to progress into the last eight, where he will face Sam Querrey or Tennys Sandgren.

Nadal started off as he meant to go on and broke twice in the opening four games to take a 4-0 lead, with Sousa only able to win four points in response.

Sousa avoided an unwanted hat-trick of breaks against him when he held to love to pull a game back, but a passing winner from Nadal sealed the set in the Spaniard's favour.

The world number two's dominance told on Sousa early in the second set, as he aired his frustration with members of his team after Nadal won against serve for a third time.

Sousa's frustration turned to admiration soon after when he applauded a wonderful forehand from his opponent, who claimed the set.

Having pulled level on his serve after going 1-0 down in the third set, Nadal came out on top in a 20-shot rally with a sublime cross-court backhand before breaking with the next point.

Another stunning winner followed on Nadal's next break of serve, before he capped off an exceptional performance with an ace to hold to love.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Rafael Nadal [3] bt Joao Sousa 6-2 6-2 6-2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal - 30/10
Sousa - 16/15

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal - 5/3
Sousa - 4/0

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal - 6/8
Sousa - 0/0

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Nadal - 57
Sousa - 68

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Nadal - 85/69
Sousa - 56/46

TOTAL POINTS
Nadal - 84
Sousa - 53

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