Roger Federer has returned to his majestic best to move effortlessly into a record-equalling 14th Wimbledon quarter-final and confirm his status as tennis’ most enduring champion.
Federer’s former coach Stefan Edberg was in the Swiss master’s box as the seven-time champion stepped up his latest title bid with a crushing 6-2 6-3 7-5 win over American Steve Johnson.
Favourite to capitalise on Novak Djokovic’s shock removal from the top half of the draw and reach his 11th final at the All England Club, Federer will meet Croatian ninth seed Marin Cilic next on Wednesday.
Federer emphatically dismissed concerns of being underdone after an injury-plagued lead-up with an imperious display against the in-form Johnson.
Showcasing all his extraordinary talents, Federer broke Johnson twice to take the opening set, produced a ridiculous spinning backhand drop-shot return before pocketing the second and hit straight back after dropping serve for the only time midway through the third set.
The third seed also would have impressed Edberg with the re-introduction of his so-called SABR tennis – Sneak Attack By Roger – to constantly have the American under pressure on serve.
He wrapped up the contest after 97 minutes to join Jimmy Connors as the equal-most prolific men’s quarter-finalist ever to grace London’s hallowed grass courts.
Federer’s victory was also his 306th at the grand slams, matching Martina Navratilova’s all-time record mark.
Cilic earlier on Monday became the first man through to the quarter-finals when Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori retired with a rib injury while trailing 6-1 5-1 in their fourth-round match.
In a repeat of their 2014 US Open final, which Cilic won to secure his first and only grand slam title to date, Nishikori managed to win just seven points in the opening set.
He continued to struggle before calling it quits as Cilic closed to within a game of a two-set advantage.