Novak Djokovic breaks the code on Hubert Hurkacz serve to reach last-eight

By Sports Desk July 10, 2023

Novak Djokovic belatedly reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals after polishing off Hubert Hurkacz.

The seven-time champion’s plans for a day off were scuppered by the strict 11pm curfew in SW19, meaning the match was halted on Sunday evening with Djokovic two sets to the good.

Upon returning to Centre Court, Djokovic was inconvenienced further when Polish 17th seed Hurkacz stole the third set.

But the 36-year-old hit back to register a 7-6 (6) 7-6 (6) 5-7 6-4 victory and book a 14th quarter-final at the Championships.

He said: “Big credit for Hubert for playing an amazing match, tough luck for him. he put up a great performance.

“Honestly, I don’t recall the last time I felt this miserable on returning games, due to his incredibly accurate and powerful serve.

“He’s got one of the best serves in the world and it’s so difficult to read it. Playing on the quickest surface it really favours the big servers so it was not really an enjoyable match for me.

“But I guess in the important moments last night I was fortunate to win the first set. This match could definitely have gone a different way but I held my nerve and I’m happy to win.”

Djokovic had not faced so much as a break point in his previous 53 service games, so a third tie-break seemed inevitable until Hurkacz forced two at 6-5 and the Serbian dumped the second into the net.

Hurkacz fended off two break points – the first he had faced since the second set, some 17 hours ago – at 3-3 in the fourth but when he slipped on the baseline at deuce, Djokovic converted the third.

It was the first time Hurkacz had dropped serve at these Championships and it proved enough to see the 23-time grand slam champion through to a meeting with Russian seventh seed Andrey Rublev in the last eight.

“He’s a different player to Hurkacz, for sure,” added Djokovic. “He’s got very powerful, quick groundstrokes, stays close to the line and has one of the best forehands in the game, loves to dictate… I’m not going to talk too much about tactics.

“I have to be ready. The matches are only going to get harder. It’s tough to say it’s going to get harder than what I experienced yesterday and today, but I have to be ready for that.

“Rublev has been a top-10 player for many years and he’s looking for his first semi-finals at a grand slam. Hopefully it’s not gonna happen.”

Related items

  • Swiatek seals Italian Open hat-trick after soaring past Sabalenka Swiatek seals Italian Open hat-trick after soaring past Sabalenka

    Iga Swiatek stormed to her third Italian Open title following a dominant 6-2 6-3 victory over Aryna Sabalenka.

    The world number one took just under an hour-and-a-half to deny the world number two, and complete a hat-trick of triumphs in Rome.

    The pair were contesting a second final in as many events, with Swiatek saving three championship points before eventually prevailing in the Madrid Open showpiece a fortnight ago.

    However, it was one-way traffic this time around. The Pole converted two out of three break points as she controlled the opening set.

    Sabalenka was the last player to deny Swiatek in a WTA final, that coming at last year's Madrid Open.

    Although, the second seed was helpless as her opponent broke again in game seven of the second set, before wrapping up a fourth title of the season ahead of the French Open later this month.

    Data debrief

    Landing her third Italian Open title before turning 23, Swiatek is only the second player to achieve that feat after Gabriela Sabatini.

    In fact, at 22 years and 352 days old, she is the youngest player to win 10 WTA 1000 titles since the introduction of the format in 2009.

    The Pole also became the third player to triumph in Madrid and Rome during the same season, after Dinara Safina (2009) and Serena Williams (2013).

  • Jarry defeats Paul to set up Zverev showdown in Italian Open final Jarry defeats Paul to set up Zverev showdown in Italian Open final

    Nicolas Jarry defeated Tommy Paul in three sets on Friday to set up a showdown with Alexander Zverev in the Italian Open final.

    The men's world number 24 prevailed 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 in a little under three hours in Rome to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 final.

    Jarry earned the only break of serve in the eighth game of the opening set, but Paul - who dropped just one set in four matches en route to this stage - hit back in the second.

    Birthday boy Paul lost serve to trail 4-2 at one stage, but he produced one of the shots of the tournament at the ideal moment and soon dragged it back to 4-4.

    A gruelling set concluded with Paul taking the tie-break 7-3, but Jarry was unperturbed and won the deciding set with his fifth match point to see off Paul in a gruelling contest.

    Data Debrief: 

    Jarry is the third male Chilean in the Open Era to reach the singles final of the Italian Open after Marcelo Rios (1997-98) and Fernando Gonzalez (2007).

    The 28-year-old registered 13 aces against Paul to his opponent's seven and hit 35 winners to 19 in a deserved victory.

  • Zverev ends Tabilo's dream run to reach Italian Open final Zverev ends Tabilo's dream run to reach Italian Open final

    Alexander Zverev fought back from the brink to reach the Italian Open final on Friday, overcoming Alejandro Tabilo by a 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 scoreline in the last four.

    Zverev was punished for a slow start as Tabilo took the opener within 32 minutes, but the German fought back in a one-hour, 15-minute slog of a second set.

    The 2017 Italian Open champion put his foot down from 3-3 in the second-set tie-break, with Tabilo potentially feeling the effects of a fine run that included a last-32 upset of Novak Djokovic.

    Zverev upped the intensity in the final set and won a huge 94 per cent of points behind his first serve as his opponent wilted, the third seed reaching the Rome final for a third time. 

    Data Debrief: Zverev draws level with Becker

    Zverev will now face either Nicolas Jarry or Tommy Paul in Sunday's final, which will be his 11th at ATP 1000 Masters level.

    That tally pulls him level with Boris Becker for most such finals by a German player since the format's 1990 introduction.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.