Wimbledon 2023: Novak Djokovic breaks the code on Hubert Hurkacz serve to reach last eight

Novak Djokovic late reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals after beating Hubert Hurkacz.

The seven-time champions’ plans for a day off were dashed by the strict 11pm curfew in SW19, meaning Sunday night’s game was halted with Djokovic two sets clear.

On his return to Center Court, Djokovic was harassed even more when 17th-seeded Polish player Hurkacz stole the third set.

But the 36-year-old fought back, posting a 7-6(6), 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-4 win, securing his 14th championship quarter-final appearance.

He said: “Kudos to Hubert for playing a great game, bad luck for him. He showed a great performance.

“Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I felt so bad on returns because of his incredibly accurate and powerful serve.

“He has one of the best serves in the world and it’s so hard to interpret that. Playing on the fastest surface really favors the big servers so it wasn’t a really enjoyable game for me.

“But I think in the important moments last night I was lucky to win the first set. This game could definitely have ended differently, but I kept my nerve and I’m happy about the win.”

Djokovic hadn’t even managed a break point in his last 53 service games so a third tie-break seemed inevitable until Hurkacz forced two at 6-5 and the Serb netted the second.

It wasn’t a really enjoyable game for me

Novak Djokovic

Hurkacz fended off two break points – the first he’d had since the second set some 17 hours ago – to go 3-3 in the fourth, but when he slipped at the baseline at Deuce, Djokovic converted the third.

It was Hurkacz’s first loss of serve at those championships and it was enough to propel the 23-time Grand Slam winner into the round of eight to a clash with seventh-seeded Russia’s Andrey Rublev.

“He’s definitely a different player than Hurkacz,” Djokovic added. “He has very powerful, fast groundstrokes, stays close to the line and has one of the best forehands in the game, loves to dictate… I’m not going to talk too much about tactics.

“I have to be ready. The games only get harder. It’s hard to say that it will be more difficult than what I experienced yesterday and today, but I have to be prepared for it.

“Rublev has been a top 10 player for many years and is aiming for his first semifinal at a Grand Slam. Hopefully it won’t happen.”

Zack Zwiezen

Zack Zwiezen is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Zack Zwiezen joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing zackzwiezen@ustimespost.com.

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