For all the complaining global stars such as Stan Wawrinka are doing concerning delays at the 2014 Wimbledon, their play sure isn't suffering much—save for one notable exception.
Day 8 in London mostly flew directly in the face of the tournament's trend thus far, which through Monday had once again featured a bevy of upsets as the bracket progressed, namely seeing the likes of Serena Williams prematurely upended.
Tuesday's action saw major names mostly plow through the competition despite the accelerated schedule, which in turn has set up some epic quarterfinals showdowns. The grass-court spectacle is always unpredictable in the latter stages, so it is a welcome sight to see a nice mixture of established stars and up-and-comers make it through.
Before the bracket moves to the next stage, let's break down a few of Tuesday's most important results.
Roger Federer def. Tommy Robredo, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4
Given his current form, it was hard to see Tommy Robredo standing a chance against Roger Federer on Tuesday.
After all, we are talking about a tournament in which the Swiss superstar has dispatched Paolo Lorenzi (6-1, 6-1, 6-3), Gilles Muller (6-3, 7-5, 6-3) and Santiago Giraldo (6-3, 6-1, 6-3) with the utmost grace.
Then again, naysayers were surely quick to point out that Robredo had upended Federer at last year's U.S. Open.
That point quickly proved irrelevant.
Federer served up 11 aces and scored on 29 of 41 opportunities at the net, ending the match in about an hour and a half. SI Tennis summed up the match, and his overall tournament, quite well:
Roger Federer hasn’t dropped a set, hasn’t looked too bothered. Into the QFs with a straight set win over Robredo. Hasn’t been broken.— SI Tennis (@SI_Tennis) July 1, 2014
For Robredo, the loss stings, although in 12 prior visits to London, he had never made it past the third round. But the real story here was Federer's chance to set up a thrilling showdown in the round of eight, although a fellow countryman had to uphold his end of the bargain in Tuesday's other marquee matchup.
Stan Wawrinka def. Feliciano Lopez, 7-6, 7-6, 6-3
With Federer through to the next round, count him as one who was in Wawrinka's corner against the red-hot Feliciano Lopez, as Wimbledon records:
"Clearly I'm supporting Stan, it would be quite amazing to play him here," says Federer, who faces the winner of Wawrinka & Lopez in the QF— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 1, 2014
Of course, it makes sense Federer would be in favor of the all-Swiss quarterfinal when one takes into account a jarring number provided by Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times:
Next up for Federer is likely his buddy Stan Wawrinka, who is up two sets on Feliciano Lopez. Federer leads head-to-head 13-2. #Wimbledon— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) July 1, 2014
"It will be amazing to play Stan in the quarter-finals here, hopefully on Centre Court, because things like that don't happen too often in Swiss sport," Federer told BBC Sport.
It was in no way an easy affair for Wawrinka to set up the dream matchup, as Lopez was not about to go down without a fight. The Spaniard had put on a thrilling performance thus far, and most recently survived 52 aces from John Isner for a 7-6 (10-8), 6-7 (6-8), 6-7 (3-7), 5-7 triumph.
Wawrinka was able to capitalize where Isner could not, smashing 31 aces and scoring on plenty of opportunities to keep the up-and-comer at bay. There was also some apparent ill temperament throughout the duel, which apparently came to a head after the fact, as noted by Neil Harman of The Times:
Animated discussion at the net between Wawrinka and Lopez. Not quite sure what it was all about but it looked interesting— Neil Harman (@NeilHarmanTimes) July 1, 2014
Regardless of the details fans may never know, Wawrinka upheld his end of the bargain and will meet Federer in a match that has all the potential of a classic.
Not only is there a lot on the line in terms of pride and title aspirations, but the winner will almost surely encounter Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. No pressure.
Angelique Kerber def. Maria Sharapova, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4
Remember that notable exception? That would be one Maria Sharapova, who entered her Tuesday encounter with Angelique Kerber a relative favorite and on a jaw-dropping tear, although nobody was silly enough to simply dismiss the talented Kerber.
Stellar victories over Samantha Murray (6-1, 6-0), Timea Bacsinszky (6-2, 6-1) and Alison Riske (6-3, 6-0) suggested the Russian was well on her way to winning in London for the first time in a decade, especially with the fact Williams was out of the picture.
Kerber had other plans. WTA captured the final moments:
Sharapova was dramatically off her form Tuesday: she lost the first set on a tie-breaker, leveled the match in the second set and eventually allowed a 5-2 advantage in her opponent's favor during the deciding set before she took the loss.
Who wins the next matchup?
Despite the recent trends, this should have been obvious in the wider scope of things—this makes it seven years in a row the winner of the French Open has failed to get past the fourth round in London.
The credit goes to Kerber, though, for seizing the opportunity and capitalizing on mistakes. She'll now have to dance with Eugenie Bouchard, another red-hot performer who has reached the final four at both the Australian and French Opens this year.
That match is both a can't-miss affair for fans and another serious test for Kerber, who has proven she can enter the fire and not get burnt.