Djokovic holds off Hurkacz to reach Wimbledon quarters

NEW DELHI: Defending champion Novak Djokovic faced a momentary challenge from

Hubert Hurkacz

‘s formidable serves but swiftly regained his composure to secure a place in the


After winning two tiebreaks on Sunday but falling victim to the tournament’s 11 pm curfew, the 36-year-old initially dropped a set, only to bounce back and claim a hard-fought 7-6(6), 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-4 victory.

While not displaying his best form, the 23-time

Grand Slam

men’s champion showcased his characteristic ability to find solutions when needed.

His 100th match at Wimbledon was not vintage Djokovic but as he almost always does the second seed found a way through the storm to preserve his 10-year unbeaten record on Centre Court.
With this win, Djokovic has now equalled Jimmy Connors for the second-most Wimbledon quarter-finals reached, and he is set to face Russia’s seventh seed,

Andrey Rublev

, on Wednesday.

Remarkably, Djokovic has reached his 56th Grand Slam quarter-final, second only to

Roger Federer.

It was Hurkacz who brought down the curtain on record eight-time Wimbledon champion Federer’s career when he beat the Swiss in the last eight two years ago.
The 26-year-old’s destructive game could easily have done for Djokovic too as he bombed down eight more aces to go with the 23 he belted past the Serb on Sunday night, one of them clocked at 141mph.
Despite momentarily struggling against Hurkacz’s skill, Djokovic successfully broke his opponent’s serve for the first time in the fourth set at 3-3, having missed seven previous break point opportunities.


From that point on, Djokovic maintained his dominance to secure victory in a clinical fashion.
“He put up a great performance,” a relieved Djokovic said on court after keeping his bid for a fifth successive Wimbledon title and eighth in all, said on court.
“Honestly, I don’t recall the last time I felt this miserable on returning games to be honest, because of his incredibly accurate and powerful serve.
“I mean he’s got one of the best serves in the world and it’s so difficult to read it.”
(With Reuters inputs)

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