Seven-time champion Roger Federer proved that at his old age, he still has what it takes to compete at the highest levels by reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals and in the process, dismantling Steve Johnson 6-2 6-3 7-5.
Federer, 34, has lacked matches and form this summer but showed glimpses of his imperious best on Centre Court.
He will now play 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic as he hunts a record-breaking eighth men’s singles title.
Johnson, 26, shares a coach with Sam Querrey but never looked like pulling off an upset to compare with Querrey’s third-round defeat of Novak Djokovic.
Federer broke world number 29 Johnson in the sixth and eighth games of the first set and maintained that momentum as the contest developed.
The Swiss was not flawless in the second set – his first serve percentage was down at 58% – but having broken Johnson again in the fourth game he was never troubled in closing the set out.
When Johnson did finally manage to disrupt his opponent’s serve in the third set he was broken straight back, and when Federer broke again at 5-5 the American’s slim hopes had evaporated.
Federer remains the Centre Court crowd’s most favoured son, and the prospect of seeing him progress to an 11th Wimbledon final, and a possible match with Britain’s Andy Murray, is an alluring one indeed.
Federer won his last Grand Slam title here in 2012 and lost in the final a year ago to Djokovic.
He is delighted he has yet to drop a set at SW19 as he seeks to nurse his body through a tournament where inclement weather has forced a fixture backlog.
“I would never have thought I would win the first four rounds in straight sets,” he said. “The matches may be tough, but rests are great for professional athletes – that’s huge.
“You can always lose a tournament in the first week, but never win it.
“I now need to play my best tennis. I have Marin Cilic in the next round – he brushed me off the court in the US Open a few years ago and I hope to get him back.”