By Paul Lagan at Wimbledon
Hurkacz v Djokovic 7-6, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4
Novak Djokovic recovered from losing the third set to overcome Hurbert Hurkacz by three sets to one in the resumed fourth round match.
One service break by the Pole saw the match, which he was already losing by two sets to love before curfew brought an early end to yesterday’s proceedings, go to the fourth set, which Djokovic stormed back to win 6-4.
The opening game saw the Polish right-hander win his serve easily, Djokovic had early troubles, mostly with a spot of swirling wind, but recovered from love 30 to win his game.
As per the first two sets which both went to tie-breaks this match had all the hallmarks of doing it again.
The metronomic movement of both players, each winning the expected points drove the set to 5 all.
Hurkacz ability to keep the rallies short and not let Djokovic dictate the rhythm of the match, and added to his his near perfect strong service games made it clear that this is not the type of player the number 2 seed is comfortable playing.
Hurkacz held his serve easily again meaning Djokovic served to save the set and take it to a third tie-breaker.
He lost the first point, hitting wide a sliced cross-court backhander. But levelled at 15 a piece.
An excellent down the line return by Hurkacz saw Djokovic produce an unforced error to the net, and a wonderful forehand drive down the line gave the Polish man two set points.
An excellent served thwarted the first of them, He thought he hit an ace, Hawkeye showed otherwise.
And then another wonderful forehand drive to Djokovic’s forehand produced another error and the set was won by Hurkacz.
Normal service resumed – at least for this match, as neither were broken in the opening four matches.
But then, just as it looked like another tie-breaker was on the cards, up popped Djokovic to first return the powerful serve, then inch his way to getting the ball past Hurkacz to get two break points.
The Pole responded to take the game back to deuce before arrowing away the perfect ace. But he was then long and back at deuce.
Djokovic then showed greater variety of shot to retake advantage and break point, before forcing Hurkacz to drive his shot down the line. It went wide and took the seventh game and the break.
A love service game by Djokovic put him within one match of the quarter-finals. Again Hurkacz showed his mettle recovering from 15 30 down to win his game with an ace.
But the number two seed saw out his game and third set successfully leaving Hurkacz with that ‘if only’ feeling.
One which many on Centre Court have felt about Djokovic these past 10 years where he has remained undefeated.
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