Djokovic into Wimbledon last-16 for 10th time

WIMBLEDON: Serbia’s Novak Djokovic returns against Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis during their men’s singles third round match on the sixth day of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, yesterday. —AFP

LONDON: Three-time champion Novak Djokovic reached the Wimbledon fourth round for the 10th time yesterday with a 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (7/2) win over Ernests Gulbis of Latvia. Second seed Djokovic will play France’s Adrian Mannarino for a place in the quarter-finals. “I’m delighted with the performance today. I thought I raised the level of tennis,” said Djokovic after making the second week without dropping a set. “Comparing to the first couple of matches and the last couple of weeks I think this was the most focused I was on the court.” Gulbis, now ranked at a lowly 589 after once reaching 10 in the world in 2014 when he defeated Roger Federer on his way to the French Open semi-finals, fired 37 unforced errors to Djokovic’s meagre 12. “It’s not easy obviously playing on grass against a big server like that,” said Djokovic of his childhood friend Gulbis. “I’m very pleased with the way I’ve felt, the way I’ve played.” Top seed Angelique Kerber scraped into the Wimbledon last 16 yesterday as Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic hoped for an easier ride into the business end of the championships.

Kerber looked mightily relieved after saving her world number one status in a tense 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 win over US world number 70 Shelby Rogers. The German star was a break down in the second set but did just enough to claw her way into Monday’s fourth round where she will face Garbine Muguruza. Agnieszka Radwanska, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Coco Vandeweghe, Magdalena Rybarikova and qualifier Petra Martic also won their third round ties. In the men’s draw, Federer was to take on Mischa Zverev. Sam Querrey took one game to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a match suspended Friday due to bad light, while Grigor Dimitrov made it through after opponent Dudi Sela pulled out-the 11th retirement at the championships.

Querrey and Tsonga’s match was called off at 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 1-6, 6-5, with the French 12th seed not wanting to serve as the light faded, though Querrey was happy to receive. They returned to finish the contest on Saturday but it was all over in a matter of minutes as the US 24th seed broke serve. “My opponent was good today. He did three, four good shots, and yeah, that’s it,” said Tsonga. Querrey said: “It’s really the most anti-climactic way to finish a match.” He faces South Africa’s Kevin Anderson for a quarter-final spot. Bulgarian 13th seed Dimitrov had an easy ride into the last 16 when Israeli Sela was forced to pull out at 6-1, 6-1 down after struggling with a right thigh injury that required treatment during the match. The 2008 Wimbledon junior champion will next face meet either Federer or Mischa Zverev. Canadian sixth seed Milos Raonic, last year’s beaten finalist, downed Spain’s 25th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 7-5 to book a fouth round spot against either Alexander Zverev or qualifier Sebastian Ofner.

Muguruza stepped up her bid to return to the Wimbledon final with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Romania’s Sorana Cirstea. The world number 15 became the first Spanish woman to reach the All England Club title match in 19 years when she was beaten by Serena Williams in the 2015 final. “Every time I start the grass season, I’m like, ‘How the hell did I reach that final?’,” the 2016 French Open winner said. An off-sorts Cirstea had witnessed the horrific knee injury suffered by her opponent Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the previous round on Thursday. Mattek-Sands broke down in tears as she relived the sickening injury which has left her facing surgery to repair a dislocated kneecap. “I remember I heard a pop in my leg and everything went slow after that,” the American said Saturday from her hospital room in Wimbledon. “I have had lots of injuries in my career but this is definitely the worst. “I will be out for a while but I will get through this.”

The deft Radwanska, who lost the 2012 final to Serena Williams, came back from a set down to beat Swiss 19th seed Timea Bacsinszky 3-6, 6- 4, 6-1 on Centre Court. “I expected a lot of tricky shots from her and a lot of entertaining rallies,” said the Polish ninth seed. Radwanska next faces Russian eighth seed Kuznetsova, the 2004 US and 2009 French Open champion, who cruised through with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Slovenian qualifier Polona Hercog. “I am a little disappointed as I didn’t keep my level up throughout the whole match but if you had said I would make the third round of the main draw I would have been happy,” Hercog told AFP. Vandeweghe, considered by some as a dark horse for the title, beat compatriot Alison Riske 6-2, 6-4. She next faces Caroline Wozniacki or Anett Kontaveit. Croatia’s Martic is the last qualifier still going at Wimbledon after beating Kazakhstani wild card Zarina Diyas 7-6 (8/6), 6-1. The world number 135 is the lowest-ranked woman left in the tournament. She next faces Rybarikova, who eased into the last 16 of a major for the first time with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine. —AFP

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