Djokovic dispatches Hurkacz; Medvedev, Alcaraz into first Wimbledon quarterfinals

Sports Tuesday 11/July/2023 12:16 PM
By: xinhua
Djokovic dispatches Hurkacz; Medvedev, Alcaraz into first Wimbledon quarterfinals

LONDON: Novak Djokovic completed his victory over Poland's Hubert Hurkacz to power into the quarterfinals at Wimbledon for the sixth time in a row, despite losing a set when the match, which was halted due to a night curfew on Sunday night, resumed Monday on Center Court with the Serbian leading by two sets.

It was the first set that the defending champion and seven-time winner had lost this year at the All England Club, but he found his play in the fourth set, during which he broke for the first time in the match to seal the victory 7 -6 (6), 7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-4.

Djokovic was tested by powerful serving from Hurkacz, who fired 64 winners, 20 more than the second seed, including 33 aces.

"Big credit to Hubert for playing an amazing match, tough luck for him today," Djokovic said. "But he put up a great performance. Honestly, I don't recall the last time I felt this miserable in returning games to be honest, due to his incredibly accurate and powerful serve."

The 17th seed did not lose serve in the match - or the tournament - until 3-3 in the fourth set. But Djokovic eventually broke through to move on after three hours and six minutes.

"He's got one of the best serves in the world and it's so difficult to read it. Playing obviously on the quickest surface, grass court, it really favors big servers. So it was not really an enjoyable match for me, I must say, the 23-time Grand Slam winner added.

Djokovic had to dig deeply in the first set on Sunday night, coming from 6-3 down in the tiebreak and winning five points in a row to take the set. The second set was another close one as the 36-year-old had to play another tiebreak before extending his lead.

Next up for Djokovic in the quarterfinals is seventh seed Andrey Rublev, who defeated Alexander Bublik in five sets on Sunday. Djokovic leads the pair's head-to-head series 3-1, with Rublev winning on clay in last year's Belgrade final.

Top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz faced a tough test against 2021 finalist Matteo Berrettini, overcoming a one-set deficit to defeat the Italian 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to book his first Wimbledon quarterfinals appearance.

"I knew that it was going to be really tough," Alcaraz said. "Matteo is a great player. He made the final here on grass, so I know he is playing great. Of course, it is not easy after losing the first set. I knew I would have my chance. I needed to stay focused and to stay there and something I am working on, to stay focused, not lose my mind and I think I did great in that part."

The Spaniard will next take on another sensational youth talent - Denmark's sixth seed Holger Rune, who also came from one set down to beat Bulgarian big hitter Grigor Dimitrov 3-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4), 6-3 to secure a spot in the last eight for the first time.

Another newcomer in the quarterfinals is third seed Daniil Medvedev, whose fourth-round opponent Jiri Lehecka was forced to retire at the end of the second set due to injury.

The Russian world No. 3 was leading 6-4, 6-2 on Court 1 when the 21-year-old retired.

"The thing is, it's probably my fifth or sixth Wimbledon, and I've not been very successful, but I've never lost on this court," said Medvedev, who suffered a shock first-round exit at the French Open last month.

The 2021 US Open winner will play America's Christopher Eubanks for a place in the semifinals.

Eubanks, ranking only 43rd in the world, continued his red-hot run on grass as he upset fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 3-6, 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to reach his maiden major quarterfinals. The 27-year-old had just lifted his first ATP Tour title in Mallorca prior to Wimbledon.

"I feel like I'm living a dream right now. This is absolutely insane," Eubanks said. "The funny thing about tennis is that you're not always going to play your best. You've just got to play really well at certain times, and I feel like I did that really well today all around."