(CTN News) – On Monday, Novak Djokovic advanced to the Wimbledon quarter-finals after taking a second day to complete the task.
The seven-time champion won the first two sets on Sunday evening, but lost the third set 16 hours later before defeating Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(6), 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-4 on Centre Court.
In his on-court interview, Djokovic stated: “Hubert played an incredible match, tough luck for him today.” However, he did a great job. Since his incredibly accurate and powerful serve, I cannot remember the last time I felt this miserable in returning games.”
Over the course of two days of play, Hurkacz’s serve stymied Djokovic, widely considered to be one of the greatest returners in history.
In the match and throughout the tournament, the 17th seed did not lose serve until the fourth set, when it was 3-3. In the end, however, it was Djokovic who was able to advance after three hours and six minutes.
“He has one of the best serves in the world, and it is extremely difficult to read it.” As he plays on the fastest surface in [the] sport, the grass court, he is favored by big serves. Therefore, I must admit that I did not enjoy the match very much,” Djokovic stated.
However, I believe that in the crucial moments, yesterday last night, I was fortunate to win that first set. At the time of the tie-break, I was 3/6 down.
There is no doubt that this match could have been played differently. My nerves held up when it mattered, so I am pleased with my victory.”
It could have been significantly more stressful than a four-set victory for the 23-time major winner, who has now won 32 consecutive matches at the tour level on grass.
After saving three set points in the tie-break of the first set, Djokovic came back from a minibreak down in the tie-break of the second set.
As soon as the second set ended, tournament referee Gerry Armstrong suspended play at 10:35 p.m. because it appeared unlikely that the match would be completed prior to the 11 p.m. deadline.
Hurkacz played a more relaxed game of tennis when the match resumed, which helped him to win the third set. In spite of the Serbian’s 33 aces, he proved to be a formidable opponent.
However, Djokovic emerged victorious and will now play seventh seed Andrey Rublev, who defeated Alexander Bublik in five sets on Sunday.
There is a 3-1 lead for Rublev in the Lexus ATP Head2Head series between the two players, with Rublev winning the final last year on clay in Belgrade.
During their other three meetings, Djokovic never lost more than four games in a set. They clashed at the Nitto ATP Finals in 2021 and 2022, as well as at the Australian Open in this year.