Defending champion Novak Djokovic came through a late-night four-setter against Dutchman Tim van Rijthoven to set up a meeting with Italian youngster Jannik Sinner; Tunisian third seed Ons Jabeur advanced to her second consecutive Wimbledon quarter-final against unseeded Marie Bouzkova
Monday 4 July 2022 07:04, UK
Novak Djokovic stayed on course for his seventh Wimbledon crown after being given a stern test of his title credentials by Dutch dark horse Tim van Rijthoven.
The top seed had to start his match at 8pm and it appeared it might not finish before Wimbledon's 11pm curfew after Van Rijthoven took the second set.
But Djokovic clearly did not want to come back on Monday and ran out a 6-2 4-6 6-1 6-2 winner to set up a quarter-final against Italian youngster Jannik Sinner.
Clearly the late finish was not ideal for the 35-year-old, as he pointedly thanked the crowd, and fellow six-time singles champion Billie Jean King, for seeing the match through.
83rd Wimbledon match-win
25th consecutive win on grass
13th Wimbledon quarter-final
53rd Grand Slam quarter-final
83rd Wimbledon match-win
"Thanks for staying for this late finish to watch tennis. Thank you Billie Jean for staying, I know it's been a long day," he said.
"Under the roof it takes a bit of time to get used to the conditions, but I finished the match well.
"I don't know if there was a curfew. There is? Phew! I am lucky, thank God.
"I remember playing a match over two days with (Rafael) Nadal a few years ago, in the semi-final. It's never very pleasant."
Sinner progressed into the Wimbledon last eight after he proved too hot to handle for Carlos Alcaraz in a meeting between two of the biggest prospects in the sport.
A breathless start by the Italian saw him grab the initiative and only briefly let it slip against the 19-year-old, who eventually hit his straps but could never find the level that saw him make the last eight at the US Open and Roland Garros in the past year.
Sinner, 20, had never won at the All England Club before this summer but took his sixth match point to claim a 6-1 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 success in three hours and 35 minutes.
"I think what we showed today is a great level of tennis, great attitude from both of us," Sinner said before talk turned to whether Centre Court had witnessed the beginning of a Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer-esque rivalry.
He added: "Hopefully this is going to be the case, but we never know. There are still so many other players who are playing incredible tennis.
"For sure we are the two youngest at the moment, so let's see. I don't know in the future what's going to happen. Yeah, I think it's just great for tennis to have also some new names, new players."
Teenager Alcaraz went 40 minutes without winning a game in the opening stages and admitted he struggled to handle the occasion but believes he can return better for it in 2023.
He said: "I start really nervous. Playing on Centre Court is not easy for me. Jannik could handle it better than me, the nerves and the pressure, I'd say.
"But I felt really well here in Wimbledon. I got a lot of experience playing on grass. Now I'm thinking that I could be a great player on grass.
"Next year I hope to play some tournaments before here in Wimbledon to adapt my game, to get used to playing here on grass. But I would say I'm going to be a great player here."
Third seed Ons Jabeur saved five set points in the first-set tie-breaker before beating Elise Mertens 7-6 (11-9) 6-4 to reach her second straight Wimbledon quarter-final.
Jabeur will face Marie Bouzkova, with both players trying to reach their first Grand Slam semi-final.
Unseeded Czech Bouzkova snapped Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia's eight-match winning run on grass with a 7-5 6-2 victory to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final.
The 66th-ranked Czech had won her only previous match on grass against Garcia who was considered a contender to win Wimbledon this year after her title run at Bad Homburg and a wide open women's draw.
"If you would tell me before the tournament started I would be in the quarters, I probably wouldn't believe you," said Bouzkova.
"Always try to take it match by match. Since the first match it has been a really tough journey for me. Just to be now in the quarters, it's something very special for me.
"I'm just really proud that I've been able to handle everything the way I have and just enjoy the moment."
Jamie Murray and Venus Williams are out of the mixed doubles after losing a marathon second-round encounter to Britain's Jonny O'Mara and Alicia Barnett.
The fledgling partnership had five match points in an epic deciding tie-break but ended up losing it 18-16.
O'Mara and Barnett finally converted their fifth match point to seal a 3-6 6-4 7-6 (18-16) victory in two hours and 12 minutes.
The defeat means Scot Murray and American Williams did not manage to emulate siblings Andy and Serena, who reached the third round when they teamed up in 2019.
Williams, 42, had not played competitively since last August but requested a wild card to appear at the Championships for a 24th year.
Stefanos Tsitsipas was fined 10,000 US dollars (£8,260) for unsportsmanlike conduct following his tempestuous third-round clash with Nick Kyrgios on Saturday.
The Greek received two warnings for hitting the ball recklessly, once into the crowd and once very hard into the backboard off a Kyrgios underarm serve.
The Australian, who was himself fined 4,000 dollars (£3,300) for swearing, appealed incessantly to umpire Damien Dumusois and other tournament officials for Tsitsipas to be defaulted for his first offence.
Players can be fined up to 20,000 dollars for an offence of unsportsmanlike conduct, while flagrant abuses can be deemed major offences and lead to further sanctions.
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