LONDON (AFP) - Top seed Novak Djokovic and defending champion Andy Murray closed in Monday on a mouth-watering Wimbledon semi-final duel after easing into the last eight at a wet and wild All England Club.
Djokovic reached the quarter-finals for the sixth successive year with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) win over French 14th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The 2011 champion will be playing in his 21st successive Grand Slam last-eight when he faces Croatia's Marin Cilic for a place in the semi-finals.
Djokovic leads Cilic 9-0 in career meetings while his win on Monday was his 13th in 18 clashes against two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Tsonga, and 11th in a row.
"In the third set he started to serve very well, very efficient, very strong. It was important to hang in there, get into the tie-break," said Djokovic, who fired 44 winners.
"I am feeling good, I had two days off, I could recover a little bit. In the first week I had a couple of tough matches." On facing Cilic, the Serb added: "He knows how to play on grass and definitely he has nothing to lose so I look forward to a tough one." Cilic reached the quarter-finals for the first time with a 7-6 (10/8), 6-4, 6-4 win over France's Jeremy Chardy.
Third-seeded Murray reached his seventh successive Wimbledon quarter-final with a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) win over South Africa's Kevin Anderson, hitting 11 aces and 49 winners.
He next faces Bulgarian 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov who reached his first Wimbledon quarter-final with a 6-4, 7-6 (8/6), 6-2 win over Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
The 23-year-old Dimitrov is the first Bulgarian man to make the Wimbledon last-eight but has a 3-1 losing record against Murray.
"All the matches are tough. Everyone in the quarter-finals of the slams is playing top tennis," said 27-year-old Murray.
"I have to concentrate on my side of the court and if I play well, I will make it tough for him."
- Rain brings problems -
Just as on Saturday, rain brought havoc to the schedule. All the last-16 men's and women's matches are traditionally played on the second Monday but seven will now take place on Tuesday instead.
Stan Wawrinka was stunned that he had to play his third round tie, which fell victim to Saturday's downpours, on Monday in a scheduling nightmare which will force him to play five matches in seven days if he is to win the title.
The third-seeded Australian Open champion defeated Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the fourth round for the first time since 2009.
Wawrinka will now play his fourth round on Tuesday against 19th seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain who also waited until Monday to see off John Isner, the ninth seeded American, 6-7 (8/10), 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/3), 7-5.
Victory on Tuesday would mean a quarter-final on Wednesday before getting back on schedule for semi-final day on Friday and a potential final date on Sunday.
"I was disappointed. I was expecting them to move matches, move maybe juniors or doubles, to make my match or Isner/Lopez's match first on when they started at 5:00pm or 6:00pm again when it stopped raining," said Wawrinka.
"But you cannot do anything. They do what they want and you just follow. They don't listen to the players. They just do what they think is good for them." In the remaining third round match to be completed, Japan's 10th seed Kei Nishikori saw off Italian lucky loser Simone Bolelli 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 after the pair had finished at 3-3 in the decider on Saturday.
In his maiden last-16 appearance, Nishikori will face Canadian eighth seed Milos Raonic on Tuesday.
Isner's defeat to Lopez meant that no America man or woman had reached the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time since 1911.