LONDON, United Kingdom, July 4 – Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Serena Williams star on Wimbledon’s ‘Manic Monday’ as a Grand Slam second week gets underway without Novak Djokovic for the first time in seven years.
With the All England Club still reeling from the world number one’s shock exit at the hands of Sam Querrey on Saturday, his rivals spot an opportunity.
“I think as soon as Novak loses, you look at Andy (Murray) and you look at (Roger) Federer’s eyes light up. They think that their chances probably doubled,” said Australia’s Nick Kyrgios who faces Murray in the last 16.
“If the stars align and they’re playing well, there’s a lot of people that can go get it.”
Federer, the seven-time champion, had been seeded to face Djokovic in the semi-finals having lost the 2014 and 2015 championship matches to the Serb.
Now, the 34-year-old is comfortably the favourite to reach his 11th final from the top half of the draw.
But first he must get past Steve Johnson, the world number 29 from the United States who has never before made the last 16 at a Grand Slam.
Johnson won on grass at Nottingham and was a quarter-finalist at Queen’s in the Wimbledon build-up.
Second seed Murray, the 2013 champion, has breezed into the fourth round without dropping a set.
But he faces a tough task on Monday against Australian 15th seed Kyrgios who defeated Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2014 on his way to the quarter-finals.
Murray has a 4-0 career lead over the Australian with three of those meetings having come in the majors.
Querrey, the American 28th seed, is in the last 16 for the first time in six years.
He faces French grass court specialist Nicolas Mahut, who holds a 2-0 lead over the American including a win on grass at ‘s-Hertogenbosch last month.
Canadian sixth seed Milos Raonic, a semi-finalist in 2014, meets Belgium’s David Goffin, the 11th seed.
Marin Cilic tackles Japan’s fifth seed Kei Nishikori in a repeat of the US Open final of 2014 which Cilic won.
Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga meet in an all-French duel. Both men are two-time semi-finalists at the All England Club.
In an all-Czech match-up, world number 64 Jiri Vesely, who beat Djokovic in Monte Carlo this year, takes on 10th seed and 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych.
It will be Vesely’s first appearance in a Slam fourth round.
French 32nd seed Lucas Pouille is also in unchartered waters when he faces 2011 quarter-finalist Bernard Tomic.
Meanwhile, defending women’s champion Serena Williams continues her bid for a sixth Wimbledon title and a record-equalling 22nd major.
Williams, 34, who hasn’t won a Slam since last year’s Wimbledon, faces Russian 13th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Inspired by Querrey’s heroics against Djokovic, the 31-year-old Kuznetsova, who won the US Open in 2004 and the French Open in 2009, hopes to repeat her victory over Williams in Miami earlier this year.
Venus Williams, the oldest woman left in the tournament at 36, will be aiming for her first Wimbledon quarter-final since 2010 when she takes on Spanish 12th seed Carla Suarez Navarro.
Venus won the last of her seven Grand Slam titles when she lifted the Wimbledon trophy for a fifth time in 2008.
In other last 16 action, German fourth seed Angelique Kerber, the reigning Australian Open champion, faces unseeded Misaki Doi of Japan.
Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska, beaten by Serena in the 2012 final, will continue her quest for a first major title against Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova.
Fresh from a surprise win over sixth seed Roberta Vinci in the third round, American Coco Vandeweghe plays Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Romanian fifth seed Simona Halep meets Madison Keys, while Lucie Safarova plays Yaroslava Shvedova — at number 96 the lowest ranked player left in the draw.
Russia’s Elena Vesnina faces compatriot and doubles partner Ekaterina Makarova, who was a bridesmaid at her wedding last year.