French Open champion Rafael Nadal held off a late charge from Russia’s Karen Khachanov on day five at Wimbledon, as the fourth seed once again won in straight sets to book his place in the last 16.
The Spaniard broke the 21-year-old’s serve three times in racing through the first set in just 21 minutes, and the 15 time grand slam champion broke again in the third game of the second to take a two-set lead.
Khachanov kept fighting as he forced Nadal had to save set point to force the third set into a tie-break, but Nadal eventually triumphed 6-1 6-4 7-6 (7/3) to remain on course for a first Wimbledon title in seven years.
There was a much tougher route into the fourth round for defending champion Andy Murray, as the world number one needed four sets to overcome the challenge of Italy’s Fabio Fognini.
Fognini double-faulted twice in a row to hand the first set to Murray, but the 30-year-old began to assert himself in the second breaking in the fifth game to help him level the match.
After retaking the lead, Murray had to come from behind after a double-fault in game six helped the Italian build a 5-2 lead, but the Scotsman saved five set points and won the final five games to seal a thrilling 6-2 4-6 6-1 7-5 win in two hours and 39 minutes.
The two-time Wimbledon champion will now face Benoit Paire on Monday, as the Frenchman secured his spot in the fourth round for the first time with a 6-2 7-6 (7/3) 6-3 straight sets win over former semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz.
Kei Nishikori‘s hopes of a maiden grand slam title went up in smoke, as Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut held off a comeback by the ninth seed to book his spot in the last 16.
The Japanese player is yet to progress beyond the third round at Wimbledon, as 18th seed Bautista Agut held off a comeback by Nishikori to seal a 6-4 7-6 (7/3) 3-6 6-3 victory in four sets.
It was also the end of the road for Great Britain’s Aljaz Bedene, as Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller overcame a tough test against the 27-year-old to secure a fourth round date with Nadal after a 7-6 (7/4) 7-5 6-4 straight sets victory.
There was to be no early exit for former US Open champion Marin Cilic, as the Croatian overcame a tough battle against American Steve Johnson 6-4 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 to reach the next round having yet to drop a set at Wimbledon.
South Africa’s Kevin Anderson matched his best Wimbledon record, as the 31-year-old secured a spot the last 16 for the third time with a tough 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 7-6 (7/3) straight sets win over Ruben Bemelens of Belgium.
In women’s action, second seed Simona Halep remained on track for her first grand slam title, as the beaten French Open finalist saw off the threat of China’s Penn Shuai.
The Romanian could also move into the world number one spot by at least reaching the semi-finals and she remained on course for that target with a 6-4 7-6 (9/7) victory against the world number 36.
Venus Williams reached the last 16 at Wimbledon for the 15th time, as the seven time grand slam champion overcame the test of Japan’s Naomi Osaka in straight sets.
19-year-old Osaka have a good account of herself against the five-time Wimbledon champion forcing the first set into a tie-break, but Williams dug deep to avoid an upset and sealed a 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 win in an hour and 25 minutes.
Great Britain’s Johanna Konta booked her place in the last 16 at Wimbledon for the first time, as the 26-year-old proved too strong for Maria Sakkari to keep hopes of a maiden grand slam title alive.
Konta had to fend off two break points in the first set against her Greek opponent, as another break point in a lengthy opening game of the second helped the sixth seed on her way to a convincing 6-4 6-1 win.
However, fellow Briton Heather Watson fell at the third round at Wimbledon once again, as Belarussian Viktoria Azarenka came from a set down to secure her place in the last 16 with a thrilling 3-6 6-1 6-4 win on Centre Court.
Fourth seed Evolina Svitolina wasted little time in securing her place in the second week at Wimbledon, as the Ukrainian defeated German opponent Carina Witthoeft 6-1 7-5 to stay on track for a first major title.
French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko kept her hopes of a second straight grand slam title alive, as the Latvian overcame a tough battle against Italian Camila Giorgi 7-5 7-5 to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time.
Eighth seed Dominika Cibulkova‘s hopes of a first major title came to an end, as 19-year-old Ana Konjuh edged out her Slovak opponent in a close fought 7-6 (7/3) 3-6 6-4 win.
Madison Brengle could not follow up on knocking out two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on Wednesday, as Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia comfortably dumped out the American 6-4 6-3.