Djokovic passes Popyrin test to set round of 16 clash with Rune at Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic edged out Alexei Popyrin 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3) on Saturday evening. He’ll play Dane Holger Rune, the No 15 seed, in the next round

Novak Djokovic Wimbledon 2024 | © Action Plus / Panoramic Novak Djokovic Wimbledon 2024 | © Action Plus / Panoramic
Wimbledon •Third round • completed
See draw

Alarm bells were sounding as Novak Djokovic dropped the opening set to Australia’s Alexei Popyrin on Centre Court on Saturday at Wimbledon, but they were quickly silenced by a pitch-perfect performance from the seven-time champion as he rallied for a 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6(3) victory to set a round of 16 battle with Denmark’s Holger Rune.

“He was the better player for the first set and then I stepped it up,” Djokovic said of the three hour and five-minute battle. “I think I played a really good second and third set, and then in the fourth I think it was anybody’s game.”

The match was the second meeting between Djokovic and Popyrin at the Grand Slams in 2024. The 24-year-old Aussie also pushed Djokovic to four sets when they met in the second round at this year’s Australian Open.

Djokovic improves to 3-0 lifetime against Popyrin, and 95-11 at Wimbledon, with his win. He needed to play a superb tiebreak as Popyrin was angling to push the match to a deciding fifth set in a fourth set that saw his level rise.

“It was a very challenging match today, mentally as well, to hang in there and not allow any concentration lapses,” Djokovic said. “I think I’ve done well in that regard, and I think it reflected well in the tiebreak – that was one of the best tiebreaks I played this year, that’s for sure.”

Improving with every round

Playing Wimbledon just one month after undergoing knee surgery to repair his right meniscus is a challenging endeavor, and Djokovic, who continues to sport a grey compression sleeve on his right leg, has had his difficulties in the first week.

He told reporters he felt some pain in his first-round match and added that the muscles around the knee are more sore than usual. After his second consecutive three hour match he gave the thumbs-up about his condition.

“I think each match is getting better,” he said. “My confidence in my movement, particularly on the extreme balls, reaching and sliding, I definitely felt better today than I have in the second round match, so hopefully the trajectory will keep going in a positive way, and as the tournament progresses each match I will feel better.

Djokovic holds a 3-2 lifetime edge against Rune, who came through in five sets against France’s Quentin Halys on Saturday. He has won their last two meetings.

London (Grand Slam), other third-round results (All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, grass, GBP 50.000.000, most recent results first):

  • Taylor Fritz (13) beat Alejandro Tabilo (24): 7-6 (3), 6-3, 7-5
  • Daniil Medvedev (5) beat Jan-Lennard Struff: 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (3)
  • Holger Rune beat Quentin Halys (Q): 1-6, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-1
  • Lorenzo Musetti (25) beat Francisco Comesana: 6-2, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (3), 6-3
  • Roberto Bautista Agut beat Fabio Fognini: 7-6 (6), 3-6, 5-7, 7-6 (1), 6-4
  • Alexander Zverev (4) beat Cameron Norrie: 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (15)
  • Ben Shelton (14) beat Denis Shapovalov: 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
  • Arthur Fils beat Roman Safiullin: 4-6, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, 6-3
  • Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard (LL) beat Emil Ruusuvuori: 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (5), 6-4
  • Ugo Humbert (16) beat Brandon Nakashima: 7-6 (9), 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (6)
  • Lucas Pouille vs. Alex De Minaur
  • Jannik Sinner (1) beat Miomir Kecmanovic: 6-1, 6-4, 6-2
  • Grigor Dimitrov (10) beat Gael Monfils: 6-3, 6-4, 6-3
  • Carlos Alcaraz (3) beat Frances Tiafoe (29): 5-7, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2
  • Tommy Paul (12) beat Alexander Bublik (23): 6-3, 6-4, 6-2

People in this post

Your comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *