LONDON (Reuters) – Guido Pella ensured there will be a South American presence in the men’s Wimbledon quarter-finals after the Argentine survived a 3-6 4-6 6-3 7-6(3) 8-6 thriller in fading light against 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic on Monday.
Pella’s win over the Canadian took him to his first major quarter-final, where he will face Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.
While Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, David Goffin and Agut will be out in force for Europe, Kei Nishikori (Japan), Sam Querrey (U.S.) and Pella harbour hopes that this might be the year when the replica Challenge Cup will be taken further afield for the first time since Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt triumphed in 2002.
Pella will also be hoping to strike a blow for the 20-somethings when he comes face-to-face with the 31-year-old Agut, as the Argentine is one of just three players aged under 30 who are still standing in the men’s draw.
With the first-week departures of the game’s so called Next-Gen players — Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov — under-30s appear to an endangered species at the All England Club.
It will be up to Goffin (28), Pella (29) and Nishikori (29) to make sure the golden oldies do not run away with another major title — with Andy Murray’s victory at Wimbledon in 2016 being the last time someone under 30 won a men’s slam.
(Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Clare Fallon)