Roger Federer celebrated the third anniversary of his last Grand Slam singles triumph in the most appropriate fashion. On Wimbledon's Court No. 1, he dismantled Frenchman Gilles Simon in the quarterfinals in a one-hour, 34-minute straight-setter, 6-3, 7-5, 6-2. The match was interrupted twice by rain.
"It's not easy for either player, and it also was windy out there," Federer said immediately after the match. "You never know how you come back from them, but I was ahead before each break, and I stayed ahead. I managed them well."
Federer went into the match having held 107 straight service games going all the way back to the second round at Halle. He had won all 58 of his service games rolling into the quarterfinals. Federer added nine holds to that tally before Simon broke him in the 10th game of the second set.
Federer, though, broke right back, and later said: "I was pleased with how well I hit the reset button."
Here are the takeaways from this match:
1. Bringing thunder: Federer has benefited enormously from his serving skill at this tournament. His ace total was relatively modest, but many of the 11 he blasted against Simon were at opportune moments. Federer put an outstanding 73 percent of his first serves into play and won 80 percent of those points -- excellent numbers against a counterpunching rabbit like No. 12 seed Simon.
2. Don't leave home without it: We're talking offense, that is. To succeed at this stage and beyond, it takes at least a reasonable amount. But Simon doesn't bring enough of it to the dance, and he's punished for it any time an opponent with superior attacking skills (which is almost any top-15 player) finds himself with a good opportunity to break. After Simon broke Federer to level at 5-5 and keep his hopes alive in the second set, Federer immediately got Simon down 15-40 and at break point. Simon's second serve was an 88 mph puffball, and Federer took advantage and won the point -- and game.
3. It pays to be well-rounded: Federer approached the net 31 times and won 21 of those points. Simon moved forward a mere 14 times, few of which were voluntary approaches. He won half of those approaches, which isn't a great number when you consider how often a guy comes in to bury a poor lob, a net cord or an ill-conceived drop shot.
4. Focus, focus, focus: Federer did an excellent job firing on all cylinders after both rain delays. But he seemed to grow a little complacent when he served for the second set at 5-4. Federer was broken at love, but he responded like a man seriously aggrieved and, after giving up the first point, reeled off four straight points to break right back.
5. Vengeance is thine: Federer's focus as well as his serving expertise will both be required in his semifinal, which will be a rematch with the surging Andy Murray. The last time they met, at the ATP World Finals last season, Federer buried Murray 6-0, 6-1. In fact, Federer has won their past three meetings -- all on hard courts. But the last time they played on grass, Murray crushed Federer in the Olympic Games -- on this selfsame Centre Court.