Novak Djokovic contests his 100th Wimbledon match

Novak Djokovic contests his 100th Wimbledon match on Sunday as he continues his quest for a record-equalling eighth title while the All England Club witnessed the birth of a new star in 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva.

Djokovic tackles Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz on Centre Court, where he has not lost in 10 years, for a place in a 14th Wimbledon quarter-final. If he gets through that, he will face Andrey Rublev, one of two Russian men to make the last eight on Sunday, a year after they were banned from the tournament following the invasion of Ukraine.

Djokovic, attempting to win a third major of 2023, and match Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Slams, needs to find a way of piercing the seemingly impregnable Hurkacz defence. The Pole has not dropped serve at the tournament, saving all 11 break points he has faced.

“I don’t see too many holes in his game,” said Djokovic, who has a 5-0 record against the 18th-ranked Hurkacz, including at Wimbledon in 2019.

Hurkacz made the semi-finals in 2021, having become the last man to defeat Roger Federer at Wimbledon in the quarter-finals. The teenager had to battle hard in the second set, coming back from 1-4 down before squandering seven break points in the ninth game.

But she held her nerve to break Potapova in the 11th game before securing victory when her opponent buried an overhead into the net.

Andreeva arrived at Wimbledon having made a run to the third round at the French Open, also out of qualifying, and will shoot up the rankings after Wimbledon, her first grass-court event on the main tour. Rublev held his nerve to beat Russian-born Kazakh 23rd seed Alexander Bublik 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-7 (5/7), 6-4.

The seventh seed has now completed the full set of quarter-finals at the majors. He did not drop serve against Bublik, who had defeated him in the Halle grass-court final on the eve of Wimbledon. Rublev fired 21 aces to Bublik’s 39 but could have wrapped up the tie when he had two match points in the fourth set.

“Every set I had chances, on match point he served full power. I kept thinking just keep playing, don’t start to explode before the match is over. In the end I was able to make it,” he said. Fellow Russian and world number 92 Roman Safiullin reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final by seeing off Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. Canada’s Shapovalov, who made the semi-finals two years ago, was hampered by a knee injury.

Safiullin will next face Jannik Sinner, the Italian eighth seed, who defeated Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 6-3. Sinner will be playing in his second successive quarter-final after losing to Djokovic from two sets up in 2022.

He had to work for his win on Sunday, with Galan saving 17 of the 20 break points he faced. Andreeva’s fairytale season continued as the 16-year-old Russian reached the fourth round, defeating 22nd-seeded compatriot Anastasia Potapova 6-2, 7-5.

“Even if I wanted to show my emotions I couldn’t because I was out of breath on every point,” said Andreeva, who came through qualifying and is making her tournament debut.

Source: eNCA

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