Roger Federer eased to a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 victory over France's Marc Gicquel on Friday to move to within four wins of an historic sixth successive Wimbledon title.
The top seed overcame the shock of losing his opening service game to brush aside the Tunisian-born Gicquel who had shown his grasscourt ability by reaching the final of the 's-Hertogenbosch tournament last week.
Federer will next face either 2002 champion, Australia's Lleyton Hewitt, or Simone Bolelli of Italy for a place in the quarterfinals. On Friday's evidence, Hewitt, the last man to win the title here before Federer kick-started his personal Centre Court monopoly, will be hard-pushed to stop the Swiss superstar.
Even the traditional Wimbledon rain, which delayed proceedings by 90 minutes, failed to shake Federer and after his first service game wobble, he cruised to victory in just 82 minutes. It was his 62nd consecutive grasscourt win, a run stretching back to his last defeat on the surface to Mario Ancic here six years ago.
Birthday girl Kuznetsova and Chakvetadze ease Russian pain
Svetlana Kuznetsova and Anna Chakvetadze helped ease the pain of Russia's Euro 2008 exit by moving into the Wimbledon last 16 on Friday. Fourth seed Kuznetsova celebrated her 23rd birthday with a comfortable 6-2, 6-4 win over Czech qualifier Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and will face either Russian 16-year-old Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska for a place in the quarter-finals. Chakvetadze, the eighth seed, reached the fourth round for the first time with a 6-4, 6-3 win over compatriot Evgeniya Rodina. She next faces to Czech 18th seed Nicole Vaidisova who put out Australia's Casey Dellacqua, the world 43, 6-2, 6-4.
Paes, Sania advance; Bhupathi out of doubles
Leander Paes and Sania Mirza won their respective matches but Mahesh Bhupathi was sent packing in the first round. Paes, partnering Czech Lukas Dlouhy, advanced to the third round with a 6-3, 7-6 (3), 6-3 win over the combination of American Eric Butorac and Australian Ashley Fisher last night.
Sania made a winning start in women's doubles and partnering American Bethanie Mattek beat locals Elena Batacha and Naomi Cavady 6-4, 6-2 in the first round on Thursday. However, Bhupathi and Knowles, seeded fourth, lost 5-7, 2-6, 6-7 (4), to the pair of Philipp Petzschner of Germany and Alexander Peya of Austria in their opening match.
Meanwhile, Rohan Bopanna, and his Pakistani partner Aisam Qureshi, lost their second round encounter 2-6, 4-6, 2-6 to Spanish pair of Marcel Granollers-Pujol and Santiago Ventura.