Wimbledon, England – Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, former Wimbledon titlist Novak Djokovic and last month's runner-up at the All England Club Andy Murray secured berths in the quarterfinals at the London Olympics tennis event on Wednesday.
The world No. 1 Federer was tested in the first set en route to a 7-5, 6-3 third-round victory over Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin on Court 1 in this London suburb, where the Swiss icon has captured seven Wimbledon championships, including his most-recent one just four weeks ago.
Federer moved on in 81 minutes, in a match that was interrupted by rain with the score tied at 5-all in the first set, despite committing an uncharacteristic 24 unforced errors over two sets. The Swiss great, however, was broken only once en route to the predictable victory.
The 30-year-old Federer would complete a career "Golden Slam" with a gold- medal performance this week.
Federer's quarterfinal opponent on Thursday will be 10th-seeded 6-foot-9 American John Isner, who launched 22 aces in upsetting seventh-seeded Serb Janko Tipsarevic 7-5, 7-6 (16-14). Isner shocked Federer in a Davis Cup match in Switzerland back in February.
The amazing Federer will not repeat as an Olympic doubles champion, however, as he and Swiss partner Stan Wawrinka, slotted as the sixth seeds, suffered a 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 second-round loss Wednesday at the hands of unseeded Israelis Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram. Federer and Wawrinka combined to capture gold in Beijing in 2008.
The second-seeded Djokovic, who recently lost the No. 1 ranking to Federer, needed all three sets to stave off former top-ranked star Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. The reigning Australian and U.S. Open champion fired 16 aces before getting past Hewitt, who captured a Wimbledon title himself back in 2002.
Djokovic advanced in just under two hours by breaking Hewitt four times, compared to two breaks for the Aussie veteran.
"Incredible match," Djokovic said. "He started off really well. I don't think I have done anything wrong in the first set. It was very close and could have gone either way.
"It's never that easy against Lleyton, he's one of the best returners ever to play the game. It was a great test, it's always a pleasure to play against him and I look forward to the next challenge."
The 25-year-old Djokovic, a bronze medalist in Beijing four years ago, will battle fifth-seeded marathon man Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in the quarters.
The third-seeded Wimbledon runner-up Murray dropped the first set before fighting back to beat Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 on Centre Court, where the Brit lost to Federer in last month's Wimbledon finale.
Murray needed just under two hours to stave off the former Aussie Open runner- up Baghdatis. The crowd favorite popped 13 aces and won 96 percent of his second serves on Day 5.
Next up for the Dunblane, Scotland native will be sweet-swinging Spaniard Nicolas Almagro on Thursday.
A surprising upset came when 15th-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori toppled fourth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer 6-0, 3-6, 6-4.
Nishikori and Ferrer started under sunshine on Court 14, but finished after dark under the roof on Centre Court.
One day after outlasting Canadian Milos Raonic in the longest-ever Olympic tennis match, the fifth-seeded Tsonga had an easier time of it in a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 victory over Spanish left-hander Feliciano Lopez on Wednesday.
Tsonga got past Raonic in an epic 48-game third set here on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, eighth-seeded Argentine slugger Juan Martin del Potro defeated 12th-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 and an 11th-seeded Almagro handled Belgian Steve Darcis 7-5, 6-3. Del Potro captured a U.S. Open title in 2009 by stunning Federer in the final in New York.
Del Potro will take on the rising Nishikori on Thursday.