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Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic leads Hubert Hurkacz by two sets to love before 11pm curfew suspends play

Defending champion Novak Djokovic was leading by two sets against 17th seed Hubert Hurkacz in his 100th singles match at Wimbledon when play was suspended 25 minutes before the 11pm curfew

Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the opening set against Hubert Hurkacz on day seven of the 2023 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon. Picture date: Sunday July 9, 2023.
Image: Novak Djokovic must come back on Monday against giant Pole Hubert Hurkacz if he is to reach his 14th Wimbledon quarter-final

Novak Djokovic will have to come back on Monday to finish his fourth-round match with Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon.

The seven-time champion was leading by two sets 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (8-6) when play was suspended due to the 11pm curfew.

Djokovic saved two set points in the first set and fought to win another tie-break in the second on Centre Court.

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The Serbian, bidding for a fifth successive Wimbledon title and eighth in all, will sleep a lot easier than he might have done if the 17th seed Hurkacz had taken the opening set after two aces saw him move into a 6-3 in the tie-break.

But the pressure of trying to put Djokovic away was too much with the 36-year-old winning both his points on serve to close the gap and then return a Hurkacz howitzer which the Pole netted. Another forehand out over the baseline allowed Djokovic to bag the opening set.

With the clock ticking towards Wimbledon's 11pm curfew, Djokovic hunted the break of serve in the second set that might have cracked Hurkacz's resistance but every time he had a sniff of a break an ace flew past him - 23 in all, including one clocked at 141mph - the fastest serve of the tournament so far.

Another tie-break arrived and Hurkacz won a superb baseline rally to save a set point but two points later he sent a forehand out to hand Djokovic a two-set lead before the players headed off to the locker room.

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Andrey Rublev celebrates beating Alexander Bublik (not pictured) on day seven of the 2023 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon. Picture date: Sunday July 9, 2023.
Image: Andrey Rublev dived into the quarter-finals of Wimbledon

The winner will face Russian seventh seed Andrey Rublev next after he dived into the quarter-finals with an extraordinary shot to bring up match point against Alexander Bublik.

Rublev was in the middle of the baseline when Bublik hit what he, and everyone else on Centre Court, thought was a clean winner down the line.

But the Russian dived forward, got a racket on the ball and somehow floated it over the net as Bublik scratched his head in disbelief.

Rublev, who had been two sets ahead but was pegged back by his opponent from Kazakhstan, went on to seal a 7-5 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 win after one of the most entertaining matches of the Championships.

"It was the most lucky shot ever," said the 25-year-old. "It was luck, nothing else. I don't think I can do it one more time."

Rublev, in the last eight at Wimbledon for the first time, was joined by fellow Russian Roman Safiullin, who became the lowest ranked male quarter-finalist here since Nick Kyrgios in 2014.

The world No 92 upset Canada's 26th seed Denis Shapovalov 3-6 6-3 6-1 6-3.

He will face Italian sixth seed Jannik Sinner, who beat Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 6-3.

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