Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic beats Tim van Rijthoven to set up Jannik Sinner quarter-finalon July 3, 2022 at 10:11 pm

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Defending champion Novak Djokovic continues his pursuit of a seventh Wimbledon title as he beats Tim van Rijthoven to reach the quarter-finals.

Novak Djokovic
Venue: All England Club Dates: 27 June-10 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app.

Bidding for a fourth successive triumph at the All England Club, the top seed won 6-2 4-6 6-1 6-2 on Centre Court.

Van Rijthoven, ranked 104th, delighted the crowd as he took the second set.

But 20-time major winner Djokovic, 35, responded emphatically to that setback and will meet Jannik Sinner next.

Italian 10th seed Sinner knocked out talented Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz 6-1 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 earlier on Sunday.

Djokovic, who will contest a Wimbledon quarter-final for the 13th time, has now won 25 consecutive Tour-level matches on grass – the third longest such streak in the Open era.

His 25 successive victories at Wimbledon mean he has also drawn level with Pete Sampras in fourth place on the Open era’s list of longest unbeaten runs at SW19.

Van Rijthoven unable to defy odds

Only once has Djokovic lost to a player ranked lower than Van Rijthoven at a Grand Slam – and it has been over five years since that happened, when he fell to the 117th-ranked Denis Istomin at the 2017 Australian Open.

The Dutchman was ranked outside of the world’s top 200 men’s players as recently as June, before his shock victory over world number one Daniil Medvedev at the Libema Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

The statistics did not offer much encouragement for the little-known 25-year-old, whose career has been stalled by debilitating injuries, as he sought to make history as the first wildcard to beat the men’s top seed at a Grand Slam in the open era.

But while he was unable to pull off an almighty upset, Van Rijthoven announced himself on one of the sport’s grandest stages with heavy hitting and a dogged determination to claim the second set.

The experienced Djokovic, who has now won 331 Slam matches, swiftly resettled following his opponent’s moment of glory, however, making just 19 unforced errors in all as he took a little over an hour to win the final two sets.

Djokovic seizes key moments to avoid upset

Having missed three break points of his own in losing the first set, Van Rijthoven steadily grew into his first outing on Wimbledon’s famous stage and sent the crowd into raptures as he followed up a couple of devastating forehand winners with a smash to break the world number three in set two.

A double fault on his first set point threatened to cost him – but Djokovic took a fall as he chased down a shot on his second of four break points in an epic conclusion to the set.

Successive aces ensured Van Rijthoven delivered a significant twist, eventually levelling the contest at the third opportunity.

But that was to be as good as it got for the wildcard. A double break helped Djokovic to a 5-0 lead in the third set before he clinched his fourth set point to retake control.

The Serb kept his sights firmly locked on another Wimbledon triumph – which would take him level with Sampras and one behind Roger Federer’s men’s record of eight – as another two breaks of serve in the fourth completed the job.

Sinner beats Alcaraz in battle of rising stars

The 20-year-old Sinner produced an impressive all-round display to see off fifth seed Alcaraz, 19, in a meeting between two players seen as rising stars of the men’s game.

On Sunday it was Sinner who shone more brightly, serving and returning superbly to triumph 6-1 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.

Sinner’s big serve gave him a solid foundation and some fierce returns from either flank put him in control against the typically tenacious Alcaraz, who saved two match points before turning around the third-set tie-break.

Sinner appeared to lose confidence at the start of the fourth set but he soon recovered his composure, saving three break points from 0-40 to move 4-1 up.

Alcaraz did not give up and saved three more match points before Sinner finally found a way to end a compelling encounter.

In the same half of the draw, Belgium’s David Goffin edged a thriller with 23rd seed Francis Tiafoe, beating the American 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 5-7 6-4 7-5 after more than four and a half hours on court.

Goffin, who last reached the quarter-finals at SW19 in 2019, will play Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the last eight.

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