Sports, Tennis

Djokovic, Alcaraz stay on track for Wimbledon showdown

Published : 11 Jul 2023 09:49 PM

Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz stayed on track for a dream final at Wimbledon on Monday as defending women's champion Elena Rybakina reached the last eight after barely breaking sweat.

Last year's beaten finalist Ons Jabeur hammered two-time champion Petra Kvitova 6-0, 6-3 while second seed Aryna Sabalenka also won in straight sets.

Djokovic tamed the impressive serve of Hubert Hurkacz to stay on track for a record-equalling eighth title and 24th Grand Slam, winning 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 6-4 to reach his 14th quarter-final at the tournament.

The Serbian second seed was two sets up when a locally agreed 11:00 pm curfew halted play on Sunday.

The match resumed on Centre Court on Monday and the Polish 17th seed broke his illustrious opponent in the 12th game to get a foothold in the match.

In the fourth set, Djokovic broke for a 4-3 lead, ending Hurkacz's perfect run of 67 service games at the tournament this year.

Victory in his 100th match at the tournament gave the Serbian a 90th win.

"In the important moments, particularly in the fourth, I managed to read his serve, make that break. That was the key to success," said the 36-year-old, who will face Russia's Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals.

Alcaraz lost the first set to 2021 runner-up Matteo Berrettini but recovered to reach the quarters for the first time, winning 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

The Spaniard has little experience on grass in his short career but won last month's tournament at Queen's to set himself up for a tilt at the Wimbledon title.

"I really wanted to play the quarter-final here, coming this year with that goal," said the US Open champion, who reached the fourth round at the All England Club last year.

"It's my dream to play a final here, to win this title one day, so I hope to reach that dream this year but right now it's great to be in the quarter-finals."

Alcaraz will face sixth seed Holger Rune next after his fellow 20-year-old beat veteran Grigor Dimitrov 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

Men's third seed Daniil Medvedev was 6-4, 6-2 ahead when unseeded Jiri Lehecka retired from their Court One clash with a foot injury.

The Russian will face 43rd-ranked Christopher Eubanks, who beat fifth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

The American described grass as the "stupidest" surface to play on last month but he has now changed his tune.

"The grass and I, we've had a very strenuous relationship over the years but right now I think it's my best friend," he said.