Stan Wawrinka continued his stealthy progress through the Wimbledon draw with another clinical victory on Friday as the Swiss dispatched Fernando Verdasco 6-4 6-3 6-4 to reach the fourth round.
The French Open champion, whose searing backhand is one of tennis’s most famous weapons, has not dropped a set in his three opening matches and was untroubled throughout against Verdasco.
The Spaniard, a former top 10 player, looked to be feeling the effects of two punishing five-setters in his opening rounds and came up short at key moments as Wawrinka broke once in each set to clinch victory.
The first set was evenly balanced until the decisive 10th game when Verdasco double-faulted on set point to hand the fourth seed the lead and the second set followed a familiar pattern with Wawrinka breaking for a 5-3 lead before serving out.
Verdasco bravely hung in, but the Swiss, who has never been beyond the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, broke again for a 5-4 lead in the third and finished off the match with his 14th ace.
Next up for Wawrinka will be Belgium’s 16th seed David Goffin, who is also yet to drop a set in three matches and polished off Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 7-6(3) 6-1 6-1.
Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios produced a brutal serving display to bludgeon his way past seventh seed Milos Raonic and reach the fourth round with a 5-7 7-5 7-6(3) 6-3 victory on Friday.
Nick Kyrgios of Australia celebrates after winning his match against Milos Raonic of Canada at the Wimbledon Tennis …
Raonic beat the 26th-seed Australian in last year’s quarter-finals but there was to be no such repeat in a hard-hitting match on a sun-kissed Court Two as Kyrgios fired 34 aces past the Canadian.
Thumping serves and baseline rallies dominated the first set but Kyrgios gifted Raonic the opener when he double-faulted in the 12th game at 15-40 down.
The 20-year-old Kyrgios claimed a nip-and-tuck second set before keeping his composure to clinch the third in a tiebreak.
Kyrgios wore the big-serving Raonic down in the fourth set, breaking the Canadian in the eighth game before holding serve to set up a fourth-round clash with Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
France’s Richard Gasquet eased into the last 16 on Friday, comfortably winning a battle of the backhands with misfiring Bulgarian 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets.
Richard Gasquet of France celebrates after winning his match against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria at the Wimbledon …
No. 21 seed Gasquet, who had won his previous four matches against last year’s Wimbledon semi-finalist, came through 6-3 6-4 6-4 on Centre Court to head into the second week at the All England Club for the first time since 2012.
Dimitrov was far from his best in front of a muted crowd, with his much admired backhand stuttering, and was too often outshone by what is also Gasquet’s trademark shot, which left him rooted to the spot on several occasions.
The 24-year-old Bulgarian handed Gasquet a break in his first service game with a double fault and passed up chances to break back as the Frenchman settled into his stride quickly, punching shots into the corners to keep Dimitrov on the run.
The theme continued, with Gasquet eventually sealing the win at the fifth attempt when Dimitrov’s return sank into the net.
While Dimitrov showed flashes of his talent the defeat will do little to silence critics who have questioned whether he can make the most of his potential.
He won three titles on three different surfaces in 2014 and reached the last four at Wimbledon but has drawn a blank since the turn of the year.
Gasquet, a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2007, will next face Australia’s 24th seed Kyrgios.