Djokovic Delivers 'Exactly' What He Needed
“I played against a very talented player today who made some big wins this tournament, and definitely has a potential to reach big heights in tennis because he's got quite an all-around game,” Djokovic said. “It obviously was a big occasion, his first time in the last 16. I managed to get early breaks in both sets. I think that helped. I think as the match progressed, I played better and better. Very, very pleased with performance.
“I think it's exactly what I was looking for and what I needed.”
Djokovic broke four times and took advantage of a nervy performance from the 21-year-old Humbert, who was making his Wimbledon debut and playing in his first Grand Slam fourth round. The left-hander finished with 34 unforced errors to only 20 winners.
Djokovic, meanwhile, was solid and efficient throughout their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. The Serbian didn't commit an unforced error until the seventh game of the first set, and he halted Humbert's chances before they appeared, often taking the crucial 30/30 points to avoid facing a break point.
In the second set, Humbert, already down a break at 2-4, couldn't stay within touching distance of Djokovic as the Serbian took advantage of his fifth break point of the game to lead 5-2 and cruised from there.
Djokovic will next face Belgium's David Goffin, who battled his way into his third Grand Slam championship quarter-final. The No. 21 seed saved five set points in the first-set tie-break en route to beating Fernando Verdasco of Spain 7-6(9), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in three hours. He saved set points at 3/6, 6/7 and 7/8 in the tie-break.
The 28-year-old Goffin will now return to the Top 20 in the ATP Rankings for the first time since 18 March this year. He rose to a career-high No. 7 on the back of reaching the title match at the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals (l. to Dimitrov), but came into Wimbledon at No. 23. Goffin reached the quarter-finals at 2016 Roland Garros and 2017 Australian Open.
“I knew that it's my favourite tournament, and I knew that I had the game to play well on grass,” said Goffin, who made the NOVENTI OPEN final in Halle last month (l. to Federer). “To reach the quarter-finals for the first time, it means a lot, and especially because a few months [ago], I had tough moments on the court, tough moments off the court. Now, to be back with my best tennis, especially here, it's the perfect place and the perfect moment.”
Djokovic said: “Grass is quite suitable to his style of the game. He's one of the quickest players on the Tour. I think his footwork is probably his biggest asset. He manages to get himself in the right positions. He is balanced on some shots that most of the other guys aren't really balanced.”
Did You Know?
Only four Top 10 seeds reached the Round of 16 at Wimbledon this year, the fewest since 2008, when there were also four – No. 1 Roger Federer, No. 2 Rafael Nadal, No. 8 Richard Gasquet and No. 10 Marcos Baghdatis.