Djokovic defeats Kudla as Wimbledon title defense continues into fourth round
Novak Djokovic has to battle at Wimbledon on Friday, but he takes care of business in straight sets against qualifier Denis Kudla. As expected, the five-time champion will be a part of the second Monday at the All-England Club.
WIMBLEDON 2021, THIRD ROUND
NOVAK DJOKOVIC (No 1) d. DENIS KUDLA (Q) 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(7)
- Main information: Djokovic saved one set point in the third, setting up a fourth-round matchup with Cristian Garin.
- You will also learn: Djokovic trailed most of the way in the third set, including in the tiebreaker.
- Why you should read this article: It was a match that was contested in good spirts, while also being competitive.
Novak Djokovic was given his toughest test of the first week, but he passed it in straight sets on Friday afternoon to book a spot in the Wimbledon fourth round. Djokovic defeated Denis Kudla, always a tough out at the All-England Club, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(7) after two hours and 17 minutes.
The world No 1 has won nine sets in a row since surprisingly dropping his first one of the fortnight. He preceded his victory over Kudla with routine defeats of Jack Draper (4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2) and Kevin Anderson (6-3, 6-3, 6-3). Djokovic’s first two matches came on Centre Court, while Friday’s was played on Court 1. Of course, being anywhere on the hallowed grounds of the All-England Club is just fine for the 34-year-old.
“It’s the biggest tournament for me because I always dreamt about winning Wimbledon when I was a kid,” he told the crowd during his on-court interview.
Djokovic achieved that dream in 2011, and then he did it again…and again, and again, and again.
Kudla puts up a fight in third set
Now a five-time champion (including a two-time defending champion), the Serb’s bid for another trophy endured a minor scare against Kudla. They were on serve until the 10th game of the first set, Djokovic briefly gave back a break in the second, and Kudla led almost the entire way in the third set. The 114th-ranked American jumped ahead 3-0 in the third, steadied the ship to force a tiebreaker after being broken at 4-2, led 4-1 in the ‘breaker, and eventually had a set point at 7-6. Djokovic, however, reeled off the next three points to finish the job in straights.
“I have to give Denis credit for playing well from the beginning,” the top seed commented. “The third set was very close. Denis is a great guy on and off the court. We get along really well. He was a bit unlucky in the tiebreaker in the third.”
Next up for Djokovic on the second Monday is Cristian Garin, a straight-set winner over Pedro Martinez.
A potential quarter-final opponent for Djokovic is Andrey Rublev, who defeated Fabio Fognini in four sets. Rublev will face familiar foe Marton Fucsovics, who upset Diego Schwartman — also in four.
They are joined in the last 16 by Roberto Bautista Agut, a straight-set winner over Dominik Koepfer.
Elsewhere in the top half of the bracket, Karen Khachanov made quick work of Frances Tiafoe.
- Seeds who have won on Friday: Novak Djokovic (1), Andrey Rublev (5), Roberto Bautista Agut (8), Denis Shapovalov (10), Cristian Garin (17), Karen Khachanov (25)
- Seeds who have lost on Friday: Diego Schwartzman (9), Dan Evans (22), Fabio Fognini (26)
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