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Djokovic digs deep to reach quarters; Fed through

ESPN staff
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Roger Federer was broken once against Denis Istomin © Getty Images
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World No. 1 and reigning Wimbledon champion Roger Federer is through to the quarter-finals of London 2012 after he beat Denis Istomin 7-5 6-3.

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The Swiss player, who has never claimed an Olympic singles medal in his decorated career, is now three wins away from completing the set, having taken doubles gold in 2008.

Federer was broken once in the contest but generally stroked the ball around with his typical grace to set up a last-eight meeting with John Isner, who beat Janko Tipsarevic 7-5 7-6(14).

Federer can also focus solely on his singles bid after later losing in the men's doubles. Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, the defending champions, were beaten in three sets by Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram.

Novak Djokovic survived a major scare as he overcame a very strong challenge from Lleyton Hewitt in round three. Djokovic dropped the first set and looked shaky in the second before winning 4-6 7-5 6-1.

Hewitt hit the ball much cleaner than his rival for the majority of the first two sets, breaking late in the first before hitting a forehand winner down the line to clinch the set. However, Djokovic has a winner's mentality matched by few others, and he ground out the second stanza before breaking early in the decider to set up victory.

Djokovic next faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who recovered well enough from his record-breaking marathon match against Milos Raonic to beat Feliciano Lopez 7-6(5) 6-4.

Also through to the quarters of the men's draw is Juan Martin Del Potro, who was pushed hard in his 6-1 4-6 6-3 victory over Gilles Simon. He now meets Kei Nishikori, who saw off David Ferrer.

In the women's action, Serena Williams wasted little time in routing Vera Zvonareva 6-1 6-0 in 51 minutes. Zvonareva won just seven points on her first serve as the American stormed to a huge victory on the surface which has brought her such success in the past.

Williams has two doubles Olympic gold medals in her trophy cabinet - but, like Federer, has never won the singles. Playing at Wimbledon, she will feel confident of adding one to her collection.

Sister Venus Williams is out, however, following a 7-6(5) 7-6(5) defeat to Angelique Kerber. Williams committed seven double-faults which ultimately proved costly.

Maria Sharapova, the No. 3 seed, almost exited the competition before recovering from a set down to beat SW19 adversary Sabine Lisicki. The pair have history at the All England Club, with Sharapova winning their Wimbledon battle in 2011 before Lisicki gained revenge this year. It was the Russian who triumphed again on Wednesday, earning a 6-7(8) 6-4 6-3 victory to reach the quarter-finals.

Typically it was Sharapova who determined which way the match swung. Hitting more than double the number of winners registered by Lisicki, the Russian also notched up her share of unforced errors, but she found form when it mattered to win in just shy of three hours.

Elsewhere, Kim Clijsters beat 11th seed Ana Ivanovic 6-3 6-4 with a break in each set, while former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova got the better of Flavia Pennetta 6-3 6-0.

Victoria Azarenka was too strong for Nadia Petrova, triumphing 7-6 6-4, and she was joined in the last-eight by Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Kirilenko.

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