Novak Djokovic’s feverish roar finally reached well into the second set. Jordan Thompson caught the Serb’s attention with rare consistency on his serve, which regularly threw him at over 130mph at the champion. But despite 21 aces for the Australian, it’s Djokovic’s ability to dance on center court and switch between fire and ice that makes his game near perfect at Wimbledon, like these straight sets (6-3, 7-6, 7) prove -5).
Just after 5 p.m., a breeze blew across Center Court, raising the hopes of the hard-hitting Thompson, who was aiming to end one of sport’s great streaks of modern times: 29 straight wins since 2017, with the fortress-Center Court not since 2013 was breached.
Djokovic, who claimed his 350th Grand Slam victory, becoming the only players in history to do so alongside Roger Federer and Serena Williams, has even the most ardent Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal fans in the exhausting debate Forced into submission about who is the greatest man to ever pick up a bat. But the appreciation for this titan shines stronger than ever.
There was hardly a shred of emotion in the 30 great opening minutes of the tennis match and amazingly there were no unforced errors. A slight clench with a 3-2 lead after a delicate volley created the break point showed Djokovic’s complete control.
But despite the menacing first set, Thompson’s courage kept her from collapsing. Instead, Thompson, comforted by his first-round comeback as he beat Brandon Nakashima in five sets, routinely pulled Djokovic away from the baseline and demanded an excellent touch at the net. And when that wasn’t the case, the sheer confused look on Djokovic’s face handed world No. 70 Thompson a small victory. However, center court’s affection for the outsider and a rude slip for the Serb soon brought out another side.
Thompson let out a yelp of pain as a simple volley went far enough to put a precious set within his reach. But Djokovic gradually shifted gears; From a roar late in game eight in set number two to stay on serve to surviving numerous rockets from Thompson now hitting 132mph. The diversity of Djokovic’s game soon became apparent; A hard shot into the net and then a backhand that barely had any angle to maneuver a pass shot past the helpless Aussie.
Carlos Alcaraz and others are hoping to devise a plan on the pitch to dethrone Djokovic, but the 23-time Grand Slam winner has much more than magic with his racquet.
“The nerves are always there,” Djokovic said this week. “I can’t remember the last time I played an official tennis match anywhere, especially Grand Slams where I didn’t feel any nervousness at all. It is normal. It just comes down to how you adapt and naturally focus your attention on being productive for yourself.”
And that is the most important side of Djokovic. The serenity and resilience to remain unshakable. That and how much it still means to him at the age of 36. Forget the roar, forget the punch, Djokovic charged at the center court crowd, limbs flailing after holding the crucial serve when the score was 4-5.
The intense mental struggle was also evident in Thompson’s commentary clips for the Center Court audience. After nearly two hours, as shadows blanketed the pristine green stage, Thompson could be heard shouting “no” with an Aussie twang after tying in several daring drop shots that forced Djokovic to charge for the net.
The game turned in a thrilling tie-breaker in the second set that perfectly showed why Djokovic has been so impressive this year. A year that could define his legacy and earn him his in-game immortality status. Wimbledon and the US Open, along with his Australian and French Open titles, would give him the Grand Slam of the calendar, a feat unmatched by a man since 1969.
And after Thompson’s double fault and Djokovic’s accurate serve, three of which were not returned, the tie-breaker fell in the No. 2 seed’s favour. The finger-to-head cheer, perhaps in homage to Marcus Rashford, suggested Djokovic was as impressed with his composure as the crowd.
The exciting style of this game continued throughout, with Thompson sticking to the serve-and-volley, as evidenced by the final point. A dizzying rally ended with Djokovic forcing a volley too many into the net for Thompson, who threw the ball out of the arena in disgust. One can understand his frustration as he took on one of the sport’s near-impossible challenges.
But Thompson can be proud of his achievements, rarely does a player challenge both sides of Djokovic, especially on this surface and on Center Court. Together they make Djokovic almost perfect.
Elsewhere in the men’s singles draw on day three, fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated former US Open champion Dominic Thiem in an epic five-set match (3-6, 7-6, 6-2, 6-7, 7th). -6), as The pair ended their duel after Tuesday’s rain delays. World No. 3 Daniil Medvedev and no -year-old George defeated Loffhagen (7-6, 6-3, 6-2).
10th-seeded Frances Tiafoe prevailed over Wu Yibing in straight sets (7-6, 6-3, 6-4), and Grigor Dimitrov kept his composure, beating Sho Shimabukuro in the middle (6-1, 6- 2, 6-1). the first of the day’s Just Stop Oil protests. Milos Raonic, runner-up to Andy Murray in the 2016 final, defeated Dennis Novak in four sets (6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 6-1).
In the women’s singles draw, world No. 1 Iga Swiatek defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo (6-2, 6-0), while 11th-seeded Daria Kasatkina saw off the faint hopes of Britain’s Jodie Burrage (6-0, 6-0). 2) nullified Her compatriot Heather Watson was also beaten in straight sets when she faced 10th-seeded Barbora Krejcikova (6-2, 7-5). No. 8 seed Maria Sakkari was defeated in straight sets by Marta Kostyuk (0-6, 7-5, 6-2) and former US Open champion Sloane Stephens comfortably defeated Rebecca Peterson (6-2, 6-6). -2). 3).