Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic advanced to the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the 14th time after a curfew-delayed four-set triumph against Hubert Hurkacz.
When play was called off on Sunday night, the 36-year-old Serbian was leading Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz by two sets.
Hurkacz won the third set, but Djokovic rallied to win 7-6 (7-6) 7-6 (7-6) 5-7 6-4 and go to the round of 16 against Russian Andrey Rublev.
“Big credit to Hubert for playing an amazing match, but tough luck for him,” he remarked. He delivered an outstanding performance.
“To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I felt this miserable on returning games, thanks to his incredibly accurate and powerful serve.”
“However, I suppose I was fortunate last night to win the first set in crucial moments. This match might have gone either way, but I kept my calm and am thrilled to have won.”
A reminder of the last man to beat Novak Djokovic on @Wimbledon's Centre Court
— LTA (@the_LTA) July 10, 2023
Djokovic had not faced a single break point in his previous 53 service games, so a third tie-break appeared unavoidable until Hurkacz forced two at 6-5 and Djokovic threw the second into the net.
Hurkacz saved two break points in the fourth set, the first since the second set 17 hours earlier, but Djokovic converted the third when he stumbled on the baseline at deuce.
It was Hurkacz’s first lost serve at these Championships, and it was enough to get the 23-time Grand Slam winner through.
“He’s a different player than Hurkacz,” Djokovic explained. “He possesses really strong, rapid groundstrokes, keeps close to the line, and has one of the finest forehands in the game; he enjoys dictating… I’m not going to dive into tactical details.
“I have to be prepared. The contests will only grow more difficult. It’s difficult to predict that things will become more difficult than they were yesterday and today, but I must prepare for this possibility.
“Rublev has been a top-10 player for many years and is attempting to reach his first grand slam semi-finals. Hopefully, this will not happen.”