Roger Federer has seen his struggles throughout his journey at Wimbledon this year. He needed a comeback against Frenchman Julien Benneteau and lost some sets along the way.
On Monday, Federer advanced to his 33rd consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal, defeating Xavier Malisse 7-6(1), 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
The Swiss dealt with a back injury throughout the match, and even took a medical timeout that lasted more than eight minutes in the first set.
He did say the back injury felt better as the match went on, however.
On a cold, windy day in England, Federer was able to hold off a comeback from the Belgian. It looked as if the match could have went the distance when Malisse went up 2-0 in the fourth set. Federer would go on the win the next five games.
This match was a good test for the six-time Wimbledon champion. As he advanced to his record 33rd straight quarterfinal in a major, Federer looked sharp when he needed to be. In tough situations, Federer does get tight and make errors. It was good to see him mentally strong throughout the match.
Next up will be Russian Mikhail Youzhny, who won a five-set match over Denis Istomin in the Round of 16.
On Wednesday, a tricky match for the Swiss could be lurking. Youzhny has one of the best one-handed backhands in the game, which could give Fed some trouble.
He has powerful groundstrokes and a very mentally-driven game. What is meant by this is that Youzhny can be very dangerous if his head is on right. As he plays with extra confidence and momentum, the more dangerous he becomes.
Still, Federer should be the favorite to go on the semifinals to see No. 1 Novak Djokovic most likely.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion will give Djokovic trouble if he plays a clean match. He will need to play aggressive against the Serb for a chance to win.
While he won't be coming in as the favorite, Federer realizes that if he wins this tournament, he will be back to No. 1 in the world at the age of 30.
The back injury will be something to keep an eye on, but if healthy, Federer will have an opportunity to make another final at the All England Club against anyone on the other side of the draw.
Yes, he only beat the 75th-ranked player in the world in the fourth round, but Federer is mixing up his game very well. The use of drop shots, baseline rallies and variety of serves are giving opponents trouble.
Then again, he can't give a player like Djokovic an opportunity to get back into the match. It simply can't be done. The Serbian is too good of a player.
Federer may even need to play a perfect match to win against Djokovic. Fed does have a better chance at an upset over "Nole" at Wimbledon over the red dirt at the French Open, however.
It's a good sign that Federer can deal with adversity, such as in the match against Malisse.
If he plays at the top of his game during crucial moments, Federer can see another final at Wimbledon.