* Fish beats Berdych in straight sets
* Sets up last eight clash with Nadal (Adds quotes)
By Tom Pilcher
LONDON, June 27 (Reuters) - Mardy Fish kept the U.S. flag flying at Wimbledon on Monday by beating last year’s runner-up Tomas Berdych 7-6 6-4 6-4 to book a quarter-final place as the other American survivors exited the tournament.
Tenth seed Fish edged a first-set tiebreak 7-5 before pulling away from the Czech sixth seed to set up a last-eight clash with defending champion Rafa Nadal.
Compatriots Serena and Venus Williams were bundled out of the women’s draw earlier on Monday before Fish chalked up 23 aces and signed off with an emphatic smash.
“It’s not what you set out to do. Being the highest-ranked American, I guess on both sides now, comes a pretty high responsibility,” the world number nine told reporters.
“People are watching. You feel like people are watching more than before, especially with me,” added the 29-year-old, clearly buoyed by his stellar performance against the dangerous Czech.
“This is probably one of the best serving days I’ve had,” said Fish after facing just two break points.
In his first-round defeat of Marcel Granollers Fish faced no break points and his serve is clicking at just the right time.
“I’ve gone through some runs in my career where I’ve served well. I think at one point I broke a record, Pete’s record, that was broken numerous times by Roddick and then Federer, I think multiple people.
“I think it was maybe 90 something in a row — I’ll have to ask — through Cincinnati and through the U.S. Open. So I’ve had success on my serve, gone through matches without losing serve.”
Fish’s serve and game will need to be at its very best for the quarter-final match with Nadal, who came through a gruelling four-set struggle with Juan Martin Del Potro.
“I know my style can be successful on these courts. I’ll go into the match knowing my limitations but trying to play as good as I can, because I’ll certainly need to.” (Editing by Ed Osmond)