(Wimbledon) Novak Djokovic, 2nd in the world, took a step closer to a 24th Grand Slam title by beating the Pole Hubert Hurkacz (18th) 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (8/6), 5 -7, 6-4, Monday after a match interrupted the day before by the curfew.
“He had an amazing game. I can’t remember the last time I felt so helpless in return of serve,” commented the 36-year-old Serbian who will face Russian Andrey Rublev (7th) for a place in the semi-finals.
On Sunday night, Djokovic had just won the second tiebreak of the game when the supervisor decided to suspend the game around 10:35 p.m., 25 minutes before the curfew came into effect on the tournament.
“I trailed 3/6 in the first set tiebreaker and it could have been a different game if he had won that first set,” admitted Djokovic, unbeaten on Center Court at Wimbledon for ten years. years and his defeat in the final against Andy Murray on July 7, 2013.
When they resumed on Monday, the players very quietly kept their face-offs up to 6-5 for the Pole who then offered himself two set points on Djokovic’s serve and converted the second.
Facing the top receiver on the circuit, Hurkacz held on with exceptional consistency from his big serve: 33 aces, 85% first serves in the third set (and 73% overall) and an average on the match of 207 km/h on the first balls.
But in the fourth set, the Pole conceded his first-ever break of the tournament: Djokovic broke away 4-3 then 5-3 and prevailed by winning his next serve white.
The Serb becomes the third player in history to have played 100 matches at Wimbledon, after Jimmy Connors (102) and Roger Federer (119).
He will play his 14th quarter-final at Wimbledon on Tuesday, like Connors. Only Federer did better (18). In total, it will be his 56th major quarter-final, two points behind Federer’s record (58).
With this 32nd victory in a row at Wimbledon, where he is undefeated since his defeat in the quarterfinals in 2017 (with 4 titles in the process), Djokovic does better than Pete Sampras’ 31 and only has his sights set on 40. of Federer and the 41 of Björn Borg.
While he was one of the only players to have reached the round of 16 without being affected by the disruption of the program linked to the rain of the first three days, Djokovic will have to continue this time with his quarter on Tuesday.
Rublev, who he already outscored in the Australian Open quarter-finals in January, is a “very different” player from Hurkacz, Djokovic said.
“He’s got one of the biggest forehands on the tour, he likes to lead the rally… but I’m not going to get into the tactical details,” said the Serb, seeking a 24th Grand Slam title to match Margaret Court’s all-time record and an eighth Wimbledon crown to equal Roger Federer’s men’s record.
World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz passed the test promised by 2021 finalist Matteo Berrettini (38th) with flying colors on Monday, beating him 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, thus rising to the first time in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
“I knew it would be tough, but I would have my chances if I stayed focused,” explained Alcaraz.
“I really wanted to get to the quarters after losing in the 8th last year. But now I want more! “, he launched. His next opponent will be the Dane Holger Rune (6th).
Proof of the Spaniard’s superiority over Berrettini, he only lost his serve once, in the first set, then only had to defend one break point, in the second. On the contrary, he obtained 16 break points on Berrettini’s service, yet one of his main weapons, and made four of them.
Last year, for his second participation in the Major on grass, Alcaraz was eliminated in the round of 16 by the Italian Jannik Sinner after a breathtaking match.
This year, after winning his first title on grass at Queen’s just before coming to Wimbledon, he says he is aiming for a second Grand Slam title after the United States Open last year.
He has now reached at least the quarters in three of the Majors. At the Australian Open he is yet to make it past the third round, but he was out with injury this year.
On Monday, in the first set, Berrettini started by saving three break points and, without having had a single one so far in his favor, was the first to take the opposing serve, to lead 5-3 and conclude the set. on his service.
In the second set, Alcaraz raised his level of play. And he gradually mastered better and better the power of Berrettini’s serve and forehand, as well as his formidable backhand slice. If he had committed seven winning strokes for as many unforced errors in the first set, Alcaraz’s ratio was 13 to three in this second act and 35 to 23 over the whole game.
At 1-1 and 15/15, he notably managed a series of eleven points won out of twelve played to take the 4-1 advantage and keep it until the equalizer at one set everywhere.
The Spaniard then netted his sixth break point in game three of the third set to pull away 2-1. And he again took the opposing service to conclude the set on an unforced error from Berrettini, perpetually under pressure.
At 2-2 in the fourth set and at 8:20 p.m. on the clock, the game was briefly interrupted, the time to close the roof to allow the lighting of Center Court.
On the restart, Alcaraz resumed their march forward with a shutout on their serve to lead 3-2, then another for 4-3. In the process, he managed a final break to lead 5-3 with his serve to follow to ensure his qualification.
Berrettini did save three match points, one of which benefited from a gross mistake by Alcaraz on the fly when the court was open and another from a double fault by the Spaniard, but he inevitably lost on the fourth.
Daniil Medvedev, 3rd in the world, took advantage of the abandonment of his Czech opponent Jiri Lehecka (37th) at the end of the second set to qualify for the quarter-finals for the first time at Wimbledon.
Lehecka, who had his right foot treated for blisters at the end of the first set, threw in the towel as the Russian led two sets to nothing (6-4, 6-2).
“I didn’t even know he was hurt until he gave up. I had noticed that he wasn’t moving completely well, but he was hitting hard! It was when he gave up that I understood in hindsight,” the 27-year-old Russian commented.
He had never passed the round of 16 at Wimbledon before and will face the American Christopher Eubanks (43rd) for a place in the last four.
“This is my fifth Wimbledon and I have never lost on the No.1 court before. So I’m going to ask to continue here! “, he launched with humor.
“I’m not big on stats, but Wimbledon is by far my worst Grand Slam tournament in terms of rounds. I now hope to do better than at Roland-Garros,” he said.
On Parisian clay, a surface he loathes, Medvedev’s best result is a quarter-final in 2021. On his favorite surface, hard, he won the 2021 United States Open and played two finals at the United States Open. Australia in 2021 and 2022.
He had reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2021 and had been banned from the tournament in 2022, like all Russian and Belarusian players due to Russia’s armed invasion of Ukraine.
American Chris Eubanks achieved a feat by taking out world number 5, Stefanos Tsitsipas after five superb sets 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
It is a new disappointment for the Greek who has never crossed the eighth on the London lawn and who has played a third game in five sets, after his already very spectacular victories against Dominik Thiem in the first round and Andy Murray in the second.
Eubanks, on the other hand, continues his meteoric rise at 27.
He who had never passed a second Grand Slam round, never beaten a top 10 player and who only entered the top 100 in April, savored this very special moment as he should.
“I feel like I’m living a dream, it’s crazy […] It’s surreal, I can’t believe it,” admitted the 43rd player in the world after his achievement.
“The weird thing about tennis is that you never play your best tennis the whole game, but you play as best you can as much as you can and in the important moments I played well. I’ve had my ups and downs, but you guys pushed me so hard to do amazing stuff,” he added, addressing the stunned audience.
Recent winner on grass in Mallorca, his first title and his sesame to enter the world top 50, the giant (2.01 m) American made the round back for three and a half rounds before enjoying a small drop in speed of the Greek on his service.
Until 3-3 in the fourth set, Tsitsipas had been literally unplayable on his engagement, passing 65% of first serves and winning 88% of the points on his first serve and 72% on the second.
He had not conceded any break point while getting ten on the opposing service, winning the first and third sets with a score of 6-3.
Unfortunately for him, Eubanks had won the second set tiebreak, his fifth of five in this tournament.
And as soon as Tsitsipas dropped a little in his service, Eubanks, who played without complex and did not hesitate to claim the support of the public with a lot of gestures, rushed into the breach.
He broke at 4-4 in the fourth set on a double fault by Tsitsipas to win 6-4 and in the fifth he still raced ahead to finish with a cannon cross forehand that left Tsitsipas on the spot.
The world number 6, the Dane Holger Rune, qualified for the quarter-finals of the Wimbledon tournament on Tuesday by dismissing the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov with forceps 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7 /4), 6-X.
A double quarter-finalist at Roland-Garros, Rune confirmed the progress on grass glimpsed at the Queen’s tournament, where he had won his first three games on the surface of his career to reach the semi-final.
“It was a crazy match, he pushed me to my limits,” admitted the Dane after the match.
Faced with the power of Dimitrov (21st), his strongest opponent on grass since the start of the tournament, since he had joined the last four at Wimbledon in 2014, Rune initially struggled, conceding the first set 6-3 and a break in the second set to trail 3-1.
But with the variety of his shots, his excellent footwork and not hesitating to come to the net – 23 points won on 33 climbs – he gradually found the solution to outsmart his 12-year-old eldest.
Uncompromising on his serve from there, he managed to regain the break to tie the game at 4-4 and win the second and third sets in the tiebreaker.
In a fourth inning where the two players ensured their face-off, he was opportunistic by breaking on his first opportunity at 3-2 for him and also concluding on his first match point, on a backhand in the corridor of Dimitrov.
In the next round, the level of adversity will be even higher since he will have world number one Carlos Alcaraz in his path.