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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Grand slam: Djokovic, Swiatek reach third round, Tsitsipas outclass Thiem in thriller


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London: Novak Djokovic hit a new Grand Slam milestone on Wednesday, becoming just the third player in history to record 350 match-wins at the majors, after Roger Federer and Serena Williams.

The Serbian booked his place in the Wimbledon third round for a 17th time with a 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-5 victory over Australia’s Jordan Thompason in two hours and 28 minutes.

A single break secured the first set for the second seed and he edged the second-set tie-break to establish an iron grip on the match on Centre Court.

Thompson, ranked 70th in the world, remained steady on his serve in the third set but eventually cracked in the 12th game when trailing 6-5.

“Congratulations to him, he played a great match,” Djokovic said. “I like to be tested but I don’t really know whether I wanted to meet him this early in the tournament.”

Djokovic, who is bidding to win his eighth Wimbledon title and equal Roger Federer’s all-time record for the most Wimbledon men’s singles titles won, awaits Stan Wawrinka or Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the last-32 stage.

The world No. 2 is also looking to win his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title and become the third man in the Open Era to record a streak of five consecutive Wimbledon crowns, after Federer – who won five straight titles here from 2003 to 2007 – and Bjorn Borg (1976-80).

Women’s top seed Iga Swiatek smoothly strolled into the third round with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo.

The Polish world No. 1 picked up her 40th match-win of the season, and extended her current winning streak to 12 consecutive matches.

“It was another solid performance from me so I’m pretty happy with the result and how I played,” said the two-time Roland Garros champion. “It’s never easy to play against Sara because she runs to everything, she’s always kind of resetting the rally. But I wanted to be patient. I really used my power today. That was a great match for me, I think.”

Swiatek awaits either No. 30 seed Petra Martic or France’s Diane Parry in the last-32 stage.

In a first-round match played over two days, Greece’s fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas overcame a resurgent Dominic Thiem to book a highly-anticipated second round tie against two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.

Thiem, who has yet to recover his form consistently ever since he injured his wrist two years ago, showed signs of his US Open-winning self during his battle with Tsitsipas, despite finally losing 3-6, 7-6 (1), 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (8) after three hours and 56 minutes.

The Austrian former world No. 3, currently ranked 91, saved a match point with some clutch serving to force a deciding super-tiebreak against Tsitsipas, and wiped an early deficit before succumbing to a seventh consecutive defeat at the Grand Slams.

Tsitsipas, who is through to the second round at the All England Club for just the third time in six visits, is expecting a challenging affair against Murray, who won their most recent meeting, on grass in Stuttgart last season.

“I’m not expecting anyone supporting me,” Tsitsipas told the No. 2 Court crowd, looking ahead to his clash with Murray.

“That’s not my first rodeo. A few years ago, when I was a kid, I remember witnessing [Murray’s] first Wimbledon title and thinking about it now kind of gives me goosebumps, because I kind of felt what he went through during that final. It was so difficult for him to close that last game and every time I rewatch that moment I just feel shivers all over my body.

“Obviously I’ll go in with lots of respect for the opponent that I’m facing and hopefully I can bring out my best game.”

Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk clinched the day’s big shock by downing Greece’s eighth seed Maria Sakkari 0-6, 7-5, 6-2 in a first round tie twice interrupted by rain.

Ninth-seeded Petra Kvitova, widely seen as a contender for a third women’s title, edged out Jasmine Paolini of Italy, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-1.

Denmark’s sixth seed Holger Rune reached the second round for the first time with a 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-2 win against British wildcard George Loffhagen, while former US Open champion Dmitry Medvedev defeated French-born British wildcard Arthur Fery 7-5, 6-4, 6-3.

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