If there is a perfect time to knock out Roger Federer early at Wimbledon, it is this year, which Cameron Norrie and his British fans believed in.
Federer’s hard win 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-4 on Saturday speaks for itself. The 29th seed’s hopes of beating Federer, the record holder in the All England Club with nine titles, reached its climax after British wild card participant Emma Radocano defied expectations by qualifying for the round of 16, before Nouri entered the main court to face the Swiss master.
Hopes rose for the last British player to make the singles draw for a surprise, also given that Federer played few matches in the last 18 months, and was fortunate to continue in the tournament, having survived against Adrian Mannarino in the first round, after the French player was injured and retired in the draw in two sets.
But Federer showed his willingness to take more hits to hold on to his dream of winning the title again.
It is enough to face Federer in the most famous stadiums in the world to feel the tension, and this was evident in the first half when Nuri committed three double faults.
He survived a poor start and held on until the seventh game, when Federer broke to move the sixth seed towards the first set. The start of the second set was also turbulent for the Briton, who shot a ball into the stands and hit a boy in the face, and after making sure the boy was okay, he threw him an official Wimbledon towel as a gift.
The crowd applauded him for this behavior, but his chances declined in the match when Federer broke his serve to lead 2-1. The Swiss, who celebrates his 40th birthday next month, maintained the lead to win the second set, and appeared close to deciding the match when he scored a break point at a 5-5 draw in the third set.
But a wrong backhand from Federer kept Nouri’s hopes alive, then he broke Federer, who gifted his opponent the set with an inaccurate forehand.
Nouri continued the pressure by breaking the serve during the 3-3 draw in the fourth set, but the 20-times Grand Slam champion saved the situation in the ninth game to break the serve and lead 5-4.
Federer settled his 104th victory in his favorite tournament, to ensure that he entered the second week of the All England Club for the 17th time in the last 18 participation.