Djokovic Makes It An Even Dozen At SW19
Novak Djokovic was at his methodical best on Friday, holding off some of the best tennis 22-year-old Hubert Hurkacz has produced to return to the second week of Wimbledon.
The four-time champion beat Hurkacz for the second Grand Slam in a row 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4 and returned to the Round of 16 at The Championships for the 12th time. Djokovic tied Boris Becker for third place in the Open Era for most Round of 16 appearances at SW19, trailing only Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer (16).
“Credit to Hurkacz for playing well. He pushed me. He served well. He attacked the ball mid-court. He gave it all and played a great quality match,” Djokovic said. “I should have capitalised on my opportunities also in the second set. I wasn't really on top of his second serve. I was a bit hesitant in the play, which wasn't the case in the first two matches.
“But I think third set was great. Fourth set, as well, very solid. I'm really pleased with the way I finished the match.”
The Serbian will meet the winner of a #NextGenATP battle: 19th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada or Frenchman Ugo Humbert. Djokovic and Hurkacz's first-round match at Roland Garros was a straight-sets encounter, with the Pole hardly challenging the 15-time Slam titlist. But Friday's match on Centre Court was a different affair.
Djokovic was retrieving everything, but Hurkacz was playing boldly and coming up with the extra shot or two that he needed. The 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier saved nine of 10 break points in the first two sets, and with a powerful 1-2 serve-forehand combination, took the second set tie-break, the first set Djokovic has lost this fortnight.
The four-time champion, however, took advantage of a lull in Hurkacz's level to start the third and broke once in the fourth set as Hurkacz never retained the same level he brought in the opening two sets.