Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic will have to return to Wimbledon on Monday to continue his fourth-round match against Hubert Hurkacz.
The seven-time winner was ahead by two sets, 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (8-6) when play was called off at 11 p.m.
On Centre Court, Djokovic saved two set points in the first set and struggled to win another tie-break in the second.
The Serbian, vying for his fifth Wimbledon crown and ninth overall, will sleep a lot better than he would have if the 17th seed Hurkacz had won the first set after two aces put him up 6-3 in the tie-break.
The strain of attempting to put Djokovic away was too much for the 36-year-old, who won both his serve games to reduce the margin and then returned a Hurkacz bomb that the Pole netted. Djokovic won the first set with another forehand out beyond the baseline.
With the clock ticking towards Wimbledon’s 11 p.m. curfew, Djokovic sought a break of serve in the second set that could have broken Hurkacz’s resistance, but every time he got close, an ace flew past him – 23 in total, including one clocked at 141mph – the tournament’s fastest serve so far.
Another tie-break ensued, and Hurkacz won a stunning baseline rally to save a set point, but two points later he blasted a forehand out to gift Djokovic a two-set lead before the players retired.
The winner will next play Russian seventh seed Andrey Rublev, who advanced to the quarter-finals with an incredible shot against Alexander Bublik.
Bublik struck what everyone on Centre Court felt was a clear winner down the line while Rublev was in the centre of the baseline.
Bublik rubbed his head in bewilderment as the Russian lunged forward, got a racket on the ball, and somehow floated it over the net.
Rublev, who had been two sets up but was pushed back by his opponent from Kazakhstan, went on to win 7-5 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 in one of the Championships’ most thrilling encounters.
“It was the most unlucky shot ever,” the 25-year-old stated. “It was pure coincidence. I don’t think I can do it again.”
Rublev was joined in the last eight by fellow Russian Roman Safiullin, who became the lowest-ranked male quarter-finalist at Wimbledon since Nick Kyrgios in 2014.
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