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Wimbledon: Kerber survives seeding cull; Djokovic beats darkness

July 10, 2018 01:04 IST

Kerber reaches Wimbledon quarter-finals

Angelique Kerber

IMAGE: Angelique Kerber of Germany celebrates winning. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

German 11th seed Angelique Kerber became the highest-ranked player to reach the women's quarter-finals after she outclassed Switzerland's Belinda Bencic 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) at Wimbledon on Monday.


Over the last week, Kerber has watched all the top 10 seeds perish, which has raised expectations that she could repeat her 2016 run here to the final.

On Monday, the twice Grand Slam champion did not let such expectations, or the fact she had never beaten Bencic in four previous meetings, weigh her down and she set up a last-eight showdown with Russian 14th seed Daria Kasatkina.

Kerber won five games in a row from 1-3 down in the first set and also weathered another Bencic attack when the Swiss earned five set points at 5-4 up in the second.

The German, however, was determined not to join the mass exodus of seeds.

"To be honest, I am not feeling the pressure because I am not looking who is left or not from the seeds. I'm just looking forward to my next match," Kerber said after making it through to her fourth quarter-finals at the All England Club.

"For every single day that I'm here trying to do my best. This is all I'm focusing on."

That tunnel vision allowed the 30-year-old to become the only woman to reach at least the quarter-finals in all three of this year's majors.

That run is in contrast to her 2017 struggles, when her Australian and U.S. Open title defences ended in first and fourth round defeats respectively.

"For me this year, it was really important for me to be really playing again a consistent year. We are at halftime now," said the former world number one.

"Actually I'm just trying to focus on every single match now, not thinking which round it is, if it's the second week or the first round.

"I know every match is really tough, especially at the Grand Slams. I'm just trying to improve my game."

This is the first time since seedings were introduced in 1927 that none of the top eight women has made it through to the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Djokovic beats darkness to reach quarter-finals

Novak Djokovic

IMAGE: Serbia's Novak Djokovic in action. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Novak Djokovic was kept waiting in the wings till after 7pm local time before he could start swinging his racket against Russia's Karen Khachanov at Wimbledon on Monday.

But there was no stopping the Serb once he made it on to Court One as he romped to a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win to reach the quarter-finals for a 10th time.

With Kevin Anderson taking almost 3-1/2 hours to tame French showman Gael Monfils in the previous match, Djokovic knew he had about two hours of daylight left if he wanted to avoid coming back on Tuesday's rest day to finish off the contest.

The 12th seed timed the conclusion almost to perfection, sealing victory at 8.50pm on his third match point after Khachanov dumped a tired backhand into the net to end a 20-stroke rally.

Djokovic, winner of three singles titles at the All England Club, will next meet Japan's 24th seed Kei Nishikori.

Tenacious Simon takes Del Potro into second day

Gilles Simon

IMAGE: France's Gilles Simon in action during the fourth round match against Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro met stubborn resistance from Frenchman Gilles Simon and had to settle for a suspension of their Wimbledon fourth round match as he led 7-6(1), 7-6(5), 5-7 after more than three hours on Court Two on Monday.

The big Argentine was looking to set up a mouth-watering quarter-final against Rafael Nadal, looking to avenge his defeat by the Spaniard, seeded second at Wimbledon, in the French Open semi-finals last month.

Del Potro saved two break points in the sixth game, a deft chip from the baseline that dipped over the net followed by a forehand winner, before taking the opening set in a 7-1 tiebreak.

Simon, looking for his third Grand Slam quarter-final at the age of 33, secured the first break of the match to take a 4-3 lead in the second set when Del Potro netted a return.

But the Argentine broke back immediately with a volley and then saved another break point at 5-5 with an ace.

The 12th game went to deuce eight times, with Simon saving four set points, as Del Potro failed to take his chances, the worst when he put an easy volley over the baseline with the court wide open.

Del Potro, who made more than 20 unforced errors in the set, made hard work of winning the tiebreak, clinching it 7-5 on the seventh set point when Simon put a return high and wide and the Argentine roared in celebration.

Del Potro fell 4-1 behind in the third set after Simon broke in the third game.

The Argentine, who leads the stubborn baseliner 4-3 in previous encounters, levelled on his second break point and it went to 5-5, but Simon broke again to take the first set off Del Potro in the tournament so far.

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