Novak Djokovic forced to battle against Hurkacz
2018 champion Novak Djokovic progressed to the fourth round after a testing Court One match against Polish youngster Hubert Hurkacz.
The pair met for the first time at the French Open this year, when the Serbian took the match with ease 6-4 6-2 6-2. The Pole however appears more comfortable on grass courts than clay, having recorded two impressive wins over Steve Johnson and Marco Cecchinato at Eastbourne last month in preparation for Wimbledon. He has followed these up with four set victories over 32nd seed Dusan Lajovic and the experienced Leonardo Mayer to reach his first ever Slam third round.
Novak Djokovic started the match the slower of the two, having to save an early break point with an ace. He himself was also unable to convert three early break points next game, after hitting backhands into the net on two of them, and facing a Polish ace on the other.
Hurkacz’s early confidence seem to fade as the set grew on, and at 5-5 he found himself 0-40 down. Despite being able to save three more break points, Djokovic won a fourth at advantage after a forehand was sent long from the man playing Wimbledon for just a second time. Novak Djokovic held serve to take the first 7-5.
The second set was one of supreme serving dominance. Neither man dropped serve, with both defending break points. At 6-5 down Hurkacz forced a set point with a sensational diving volley, but a flat forehand sailed long for the opportunity to go.
A tiebreak followed in which the Polish underdog forced Djokovic to lose his first set of the tournament. A powerful serve could only be returned with a high and slow backhand from the four time champion, and Hurkacz smashed the ball away at the net to level the match.
Djokovic has only lost before the third round once in the last decade, and he showed no intentions of doing so again today. In just 17 minutes the Serbian was back ahead after he broke the Hurkacz serve twice to rapidly close the third set 6-1.
Hurkacz now looked as if he lacked belief, and the 15 time Grand Slam winner broke him early on in the fourth to more or less put the match to bed. Despite saving later break points, Djokovic never looked in trouble on his own serve in the fourth set, closing the match 7-5 6-7 6-1 6-4.
Next up for Djokovic is surprise fourth rounder Ugo Humbert, who stunned teenage 19th seed Felix Auger Aliassime of Canada in straight sets this evening.
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