Djokovic eyes 75th Wimbledon win as Jabeur beats sickness to make last 16

Djokovic eyes 75th Wimbledon win as Jabeur beats sickness to make last 16
Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur celebrates winning the women’s singles third round match against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza on Wimbledon Tennis Championships’ day five in London. (AP)
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Updated 02 July 2021

Djokovic eyes 75th Wimbledon win as Jabeur beats sickness to make last 16

Djokovic eyes 75th Wimbledon win as Jabeur beats sickness to make last 16
  • Ons Jabeur overcame sickness to become 1st Tunisian woman to reach 2nd week at the All England Club
  • Five-time champion Djokovic will be wary of American qualifier Denis Kudla despite his modest ranking of 114

LONDON: World number one Novak Djokovic attempted to win his 75th career match at Wimbledon on Friday.
Meanwhile, Ons Jabeur overcame sickness to become the first Tunisian woman to reach the second week at the All England Club.
Five-time champion Djokovic, who is chasing a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title, will be wary of American qualifier Denis Kudla despite his modest ranking of 114.
Ukraine-born Kudla made the fourth round in 2015 where it took former US Open champion Marin Cilic to stop him while he also has four quarter-finals at grass court events to his name.
Djokovic reached the third round for the 15th time at Wimbledon with a straight sets win over Kevin Anderson.
He didn’t face a single break point and committed just six unforced errors.
“I’m striking the ball really well in general,” said Djokovic who is halfway to becoming only the third man in history — and first since Rod Laver in 1969 — to complete the calendar Slam.
Victory on Friday will put him into the last 16 of a Slam for the 55th time.
Waiting there will be Chilean 17th seed Christian Garin who defeated Spain’s Pedro Martinez 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
World number 24 Jabeur defeated 2017 champion Garbine Muguruza 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 on the back of 44 winners and generating 29 break points.
Muguruza saved 24 of them but was still unable to break the spirit of Arab trailblazer Jabeur who came through despite throwing up at the Royal Box end on Center Court as she served for the match.
“This is the first time I play on Center, and it’s amazing energy. I’m not saying this so you guys can cheer for me for the next round but this is my favorite center court,” she said.
Jabeur next takes on Poland’s Iga Swiatek, the seventh seed, who was the first player into the last 16 with a 55-minute 6-1, 6-0 demolition of Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu.
Swiatek, the 2018 junior champion, had only won one match on grass on the main tour prior to Wimbledon.
“It’s hard to compare my previous years on grass, because in 2019 I was physically weaker,” said Swiatek, beaten in the Wimbledon first round in 2019.
“I didn’t actually have an idea on how to play on grass. This time it’s much, much better, so I just developed overall.”
In a wide open women’s draw, Swiatek is just one of three top 10 seeds still standing along with top-ranked Ashleigh Barty and second seeded Aryna Sabalenka.
Sabalenka made the fourth round for the first time by beating Colombian qualifier Maria Camila Osorio Serrano 6-0, 6-3.
Sabalenka next faces fellow big-hitter Elena Rybakina, the 18th-seeded Kazakh who saw off Shelby Rogers 6-1, 6-4.
Former world number one Karolina Pliskova made the last 16 for the third time with a 6-3, 6-3 win over fellow Czech Tereza Martincova.
Pliskova will meet Russian wildcard Liudmila Samsonova who defeated former US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.
Samsonova, who won the Berlin title after coming through qualifying on the eve of Wimbledon, fired 33 winners to Stephens’ eight.
The Russian has now won 10 successive matches on grass.
Former two-time champion Andy Murray, who put in a spectacular performance to beat qualifier Oscar Otte from two sets to one down on Wednesday, has a tough assignment against 10th seeded Denis Shapovalov of Canada.
Murray, now down at 118 in the world, is playing the singles event for the first time since 2017 having battled hip and groin injuries.
Friday’s encounter will be his first meeting with a top 20 player at Wimbledon since winning the title for the second time in 2016.
Shapovalov, 22, who has never played on Center Court, admits he enjoyed watching Murray’s comeback against Otte.
“A fan of Andy’s, you know, to see him back and moving so well, especially those last two sets, how he turned it around,” said the Canadian as he eyes a last-16 place for the first time.
Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev booked a last-16 spot for the first time by seeing off mercurial Fabio Fognini 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.
Karen Khachanov made it a double Russian celebration by putting out Frances Tiafoe — who had knocked out third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round — 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.