Davidovich Fokina Rides Rollercoaster Past Hurkacz In Wimbledon Thriller
One of the wildest matches of this Wimbledon might have already occurred on Day One.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina let slip three match points in the third set against Hubert Hurkacz and later trailed by a break on two occasions in the fifth set, but the Spaniard battled into the second round 7-6(4), 6-4, 5-7, 2-6, 7-6(10-8).
“Really I don’t know how I won this match. He had in the fifth set [a] 5-4 [lead] and [he was] serving with the new balls. I was [thinking], ‘Okay, let’s put the return in and let’s see what happens,’” Davidovich Fokina said in his on-court interview as he laughed. “But I’m so happy for the win today because I was struggling a little bit. To beat Hurkacz on grass — he [made] the semi-final last year — it’s so much confidence to myself. I’m so happy.”
For much of the deciding set, Davidovich Fokina was left shaking his head. This year’s Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters finalist had been up two sets to none and served for the match at 5-3 in the third with a 40/0 advantage. The Spaniard put three first serves into play on those points, but was unable to convert.
At 40/0, he attempted a forward-facing tweener, but missed into the net. It seemed Davidovich Fokina would regret that decision. Minutes later, the players left the court for the second rain delay of the match and when they returned, Hurkacz stormed through the rest of the set and the fourth set.
“I didn’t know if I had to… just rest, sleep, I don’t know. Then when we returned the second time it was tough because it was [5-5] in the third set and there was a lot of tension there,” Davidovich Fokina said. “I didn’t make it, but I just kept playing my game.”
A semi-finalist at SW19 last year, Hurkacz showed his comfort on the grass as Davidovich Fokina lost his game. The Pole even served for the match in the fifth set. But the No. 37 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings never gave up and that paid dividends as he found a way to win after three hours and 28 minutes.
“It means a lot. I had a lot of matches that I played against Top 10 [players] and I didn’t win,” said Davidovich Fokina, who will next play Czech lefty Jiri Vesely. “Here on grass I could prove that I could beat anyone.”
In other action, British No. 1 Cameron Norrie got off to a good start with a 6-0, 7-6(3), 6-3 win against Spaniard Pablo Andujar. Norrie will next face another Spaniard, Jaume Munar, who defeated Brazilian Thiago Monteiro 6-2, 6-4, 7-5.
"It was a tricky one obviously with the delays and having to stop and restart. Especially at the end with having a couple match points, then coming out and having to play again. It could either be five minutes or it could be three hours. I was ready for anything," Norrie said. "Overall pretty good match. Great first set. Pretty clean. Obviously still things I can improve, but pretty solid."
The ninth seed played a clean match, hitting 32 winners to just 25 unforced errors and losing serve just once. Norrie made his deepest run at Wimbledon last year, when he reached the third round (l. to Federer).