Rediff.com  » Sports » PIX: Djokovic tames Van Rijthoven, meets Sinner next

PIX: Djokovic tames Van Rijthoven, meets Sinner next

Last updated on: July 04, 2022 04:18 IST
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Images from the 2022 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London on Sunday.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his fourth round match against Netherlands' Tim van Rijthoven, at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, on Sunday.

IMAGE: Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his fourth round match against the Netherlands' Tim van Rijthoven, at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, on Sunday. Photograph: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

Top seed Novak Djokovic raised his level to put an end to the fairytale run of Dutch wildcard Tim van Rijthoven during a battling 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory on Sunday and keep his Wimbledon title defence on track.

 

Chasing a fourth straight Wimbledon crown and seventh overall at the grasscourt major, Djokovic is now unbeaten on the manicured lawns of the All England Club since retiring due to an elbow injury against Tomas Berdych in the 2017 quarter-finals.

Djokovic will play Italian 10th seed Jannik Sinner for a place in Friday's semi-finals after the 20-year-old ousted fifth-seeded Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in the previous contest on Centre Court.

Van Rijthoven was ranked 205th in the world last month and had not even won a Challenger Tour title when he triumphed at the ATP 250 grasscourt event in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, defeating world number one Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-1 in the final.

The Netherlands' Tim van Rijthoven reacts after winning a point during his fourth round match against Serbia's Novak Djokovic.

IMAGE: The Netherlands' Tim van Rijthoven reacts after winning a point during his fourth round match against Serbia's Novak Djokovic. Photograph: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

"Very tough. I mean, I have never faced him before and he's kind of a new face on the tour," Djokovic said, standing on the same lawn that he graced a few hours earlier as part of a parade of former champions to celebrate Centre Court's 100 years.

"He was on a streak on this surface and I knew that it wasn't going to be easy with that serve and a lot of talent, great touch, powerful forehand, he can do a lot of damage. It took me a little bit of time to get used to his pace."

Djokovic broke the Dutchman at the first opportunity but was soon forced to dig deep on his own serve when van Rijthoven set up two break point chances.

But the Serbian saved both and let out a huge roar that sounded even louder with the roof closed due to the lateness of the match.

Van Rijthoven missed one more chance on Djokovic's serve in the seventh game and instead it was the top seed who got a second break to bag the set with an exquisite backhand down the line.

The 25-year-old Van Rijthoven, who said it was his dream before the tournament to play Djokovic, would not be beaten easily though.

He started putting Djokovic under pressure with his heavy forehand and finally managed to crack his opponent's serve in the seventh game with cries of "Come on Tim" reverberating in the stands.

Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Tim van Rijthoven after winning their fourth round match.

IMAGE: Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Tim van Rijthoven after winning their fourth round match. Photograph: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

The Dutch, who rates his delivery as his greatest weapon, saved four break points while serving for the second set at 5-4 before slamming down two consecutive aces to level the contest at one set apiece.

With less than 90 minutes left for an impending curfew at 11 pm local time, many would have wondered if the match was headed for a Monday finish. But Djokovic had other ideas.

He slipped a few times on important points during the first two sets as he played a few metres behind the baseline to allow himself more time against the hard-hitting Van Rijthoven.

After losing the second set he decided to change tactics and pumped up his aggression.

The 35-year-old showed why he has won 25 consecutive matches on grass and broke his opponent's serve twice to completely shut out the momentum the Dutchman had gained.

Djokovic got a break early in the fourth and let out roars of "come on" with his fists clenched, while a second break in the seventh game put the world number three firmly in control.

The 20-times major champion then converted his first match point with a forehand winner -- his 28th of the evening -- to keep his title defence rolling on grass.

"Conditions under the roof played a little bit different, a bit slippery. It takes a bit of time or a bit of adjustment but overall I closed out the match well," said Djokovic, claiming he was unaware of the approaching curfew.

"I'm lucky. It's never really pleasant if you can't finish the match the same day. Glad I did."

Sinner stays strong to down Alcaraz in fourth round thriller

IMAGE: Italy's Jannik Sinner celebrates winning his fourth round match against Spain's Carlos Alcaraz. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Italian Jannik Sinner enjoyed a day to remember on his Centre Court debut as he toppled fifth seed Carlos Alcaraz with a barnstorming 6-1, 6-4, 6-7(8), 6-3 win in a battle of the young-guns to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time.

On a day when Wimbledon's most famous stage celebrated its centenary, the two youngest players left in the men's draw gave a glimpse of the future with some breathtaking shotmaking that earned them a standing ovation from 15,000 hollering fans.

However, during the first two sets there was little indication of the spellbinding drama that would end up unfolding on Centre Court.

IMAGE: Jannik Sinner withstood the barrage of belting winners to finally book his place in the last eight at his sixth attempt. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

The highly-rated Spaniard Alcaraz, who has won a Tour-leading four titles this year, was sucked into a Sinner whirlwind as he lost seven games in a row from 1-1 in the first set.

The 19-year-old Spaniard recovered from that setback to deny Sinner two match points in the third-set tiebreak before three more went begging with Alcaraz serving at 5-2 down in the fourth.

But Sinner withstood the barrage of belting winners to finally book his place in the last eight at his sixth attempt when Alcaraz rolled a forehand into the net.

The 10th seed will next face either six-time champion Novak Djokovic or Dutch wildcard Tim van Rijthoven.

Impressive Jabeur edges Mertens to reach quarter-finals

Tunisia's Ons Jabeur celebrates winning her fourth round match against Belgium's Elise Mertens

IMAGE: Tunisia's Ons Jabeur celebrates winning her fourth round match against Belgium's Elise Mertens. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Ons Jabeur's hopes of becoming the first African to lift the Rosewater Dish gathered momentum on Sunday as she edged out Belgian Elise Mertens 7-6 (9), 6-4 in a topsy-turvy encounter to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the second year running.

The second-ranked Tunisian, the only seed left in the bottom half of the women's draw, has been the form player over the opening week of the grasscourt championships as she reached the last eight without dropping a set.

Mertens, however, was no pushover during the contest as she earned five set points during a marathon first-set tiebreak.

But once Jabeur produced the firepower to wriggle out of trouble, she raised her game in the second set and wrapped up the win when Mertens surrendered with a double fault.

The 27-year-old will next meet 66th-ranked Czech challenger Marie Bouzkova as the Tunisian targets a place in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Goffin outlasts Tiafoe

IMAGE: Belgium's David Goffin celebrates winning his fourth round match against Frances Tiafoe of the United States. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Belgian David Goffin edged American 23rd seed Frances Tiafoe in a five-set thriller on Sunday to match his 2019 quarter-final appearance at Wimbledon when he last played in the Grand Slam.

The former world number seven fell to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in 2019 but after a injury-hit last season on Tour has returned to the last eight stage again to match his best performance at the majors.

Now ranked 58th, Goffin will next meet local hope Cameron Norrie for a place in Friday's semi-finals after holding his nerve to outlast Tiafoe 7-6(3), 5-7, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 in an absorbing contest on court one that lasted four hours 36 minutes.

"It means a lot. For me, it's almost like a back-to-back quarter-finals because I didn't play last year," the 31-year-old Goffin told reporters.

"I was very excited to come back here because it's a very important tournament for me, because it's probably my favourite tournament of the year, place that I love, surface that I can play really well. I had some great results on that surface."

Goffin came into the fourth-round contest against the 28th-ranked Tiafoe with a 4-1 head-to-head advantage -- the last of them in the second round of Roland Garros this year when the Belgian won in four sets.

Both players broke each other's serve six times on Sunday during the topsy-turvy contest with the 31-year-old Goffin doing better on the unforced errors count than his opponent.

Goffin got the decisive break in the 12th game of the fifth set to seal the fate of the match.

"It's always tough when you played almost four hours already and you have to play a fifth set. It's not easy," Goffin said.

"At the end I took my chance. I was aggressive with the return. Very happy to win that one. It was a tough one, very tough one."

A quarter-final match-up against Briton Norrie, who also beat an American in Tommy Paul but in straight sets, would mean Goffin in all probability will be put on Centre Court next.

"I have another opportunity to play on Centre Court to try to have a win, finally to have a win on Centre Court," he said, while praising Norrie's consistency throughout the tournament.

"But I will try to recover. That's the most important now, today and tomorrow, try to be ready to play against the whole country."

Bouzkova ousts Garcia

IMAGE: Marie Bouzkova of Czech Republic celebrates winning her fourth round match against Caroline Garcia of France on Day 7 of Wimbledon 2022 on Sunday. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Unseeded Czech Marie Bouzkova snapped Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia's eight-match winning run on grass with a 7-5 6-2 victory in the Wimbledon fourth round on Sunday to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final.

Since knocking out American seventh seed Danielle Collins in the opening round, the 23-year-old Bouzkova has grown from strength to strength at the grasscourt Grand Slam where she had never previously got past the second round.

The 66th-ranked Czech had won her only previous match on grass against Garcia who was considered a contender to win Wimbledon this year after her title run at Bad Homburg and a wide open women's draw.

"If you would tell me before the tournament started I would be in the quarters, I probably wouldn't believe you," said Bouzkova, who will next meet either Ons Jabeur, the highest seed remaining in the women's draw, or 24th seed Elise Mertens.

"Always try to take it match by match. Since first match has been really tough journey for me. Just to be now in the quarters, it's something very special for me.

"I'm just really proud that I've been able to handle everything the way I have and just enjoy the moment."

IMAGE: Marie Bouzkova was forced to withdraw from the French Open after testing positive for COVID-19 ahead of her second-round match. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

With Wimbledon playing a full schedule for the first time on the middle Sunday, Bouzkova broke 55th-ranked Garcia early on Court Two but was broken back in the eighth game.

From 4-5 down in the opening set, however, Bouzkova, who made only four unforced errors in the match, won nine of the next 11 games to seal victory in an hour and 23 minutes.

Bouzkova was forced to withdraw from Roland Garros after testing positive for COVID-19 ahead of her second-round match.

"I've actually been feeling really well physically after COVID in Paris," she told reporters.

"I always like to play on grass. I just know it takes a few days, maybe one or two matches, to get used to it, to make some small changes."

Norrie keeps British hopes alive

IMAGE: Cameron Norrie's victory made him only the fifth British man overall to reach the last-eight stage at Wimbledon and the first since two-time champion Andy Murray in 2017. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Ninth seed Cameron Norrie kept the British flag flying at Wimbledon on Sunday by progressing to his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final with a commanding 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 victory over American Tommy Paul.

Left-hander Norrie is the only local hope surviving at the grasscourt major and for a place in Friday's semi-finals he will meet Belgian David Goffin, who earlier edged American 23rd seed Frances Tiafoe 7-6(3), 5-7, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5.

Norrie's victory made him only the fifth British man overall to reach the last-eight stage at the Championships and the first since two-time champion Andy Murray in 2017.

"To make the quarters for the first time, in front of my family and friends here from college is so special," Norrie said on court amid loud cheers from the crowd.

"In a huge match, to play the way I did, was really good. To execute everything. I really enjoyed it. It is pretty crazy, I have a lot of feelings."

Paul, seeded 30th, had defeated a left-handed player in each of his previous three rounds but failed to find solutions to breach Norrie's precise delivery and tame his opponent's accurate forehand in a frenzied atmosphere on Court One.

Norrie broke Paul's delivery in the opening game to take the lead and then saved four breakpoints on his own serve in the sixth game to keep his nose ahead and take the first set.

Spinning his racquet from one hand to the other while receiving serve, the 25-year-old American could not find a way to dent Norrie's delivery but looked to be more aggressive overall by approaching the net more often.

But Norrie's expansive forehand was up to the challenge and a netted return from Paul gave him a break of serve in the third game of the second set. Paul again had two chances to get the set back on serve but the Briton saved both for a 4-2 lead.

With Norrie serving at 5-4, the American finally managed to convert a breakpoint, only to be broken back immediately to hand back the lead, much to the delight of the partisan crowd.

The third set followed a similar script with Norrie once again getting an early break of serve in the third game and the 26-year-old converted his first matchpoint when Paul pulled a forehand wide.

Norrie said he had matured and learnt to be more patient, and asked the crowd to get behind him even more.

"I think from the first round everyone has been behind me and supported me and I definitely think it has helped in some of the tougher situations in matches," Norrie said.

"When I was serving for the match there, I was going through a lot of different scenarios in my head. I was able to stay calm enough to close it out. It was great and you guys helped me through it."

Maria rallies to stun Ostapenko and reach quarters

IMAGE: Tatjana Maria celebrates winning her fourth round match against Jelena Ostapenko. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Germany's Tatjana Maria continued her dream Wimbledon run when she fought from a set down and saved two match points to beat former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 on Sunday and reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time.

It was the biggest career victory for the mother of two who returned to action from maternity leave just under a year ago and she will play Jule Niemeier in the last eight after the German beat Briton Heather Watson 6-2, 6-4.

Maria, who was ranked outside the top 250 in March, said the victory was especially sweet given her breaks from the game.

"It makes me so proud to be a mum, that's the best feeling in the world," she said in an on-court interview.

"I love my two kids... to be able to do this together... It makes it really special."

IMAGE: It was the biggest career victory for the mother of two Tatjana Maria, who returned to action from maternity leave just under a year ago. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Maria made a solid start as the 25-year-old Ostapenko, who reached the semi-finals at the grasscourt major a year after her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in 2017, surrendered her serve early to trail 1-3.

But the Latvian immediately regained her composure to level the scores before switching gears to go ahead 6-5 and take the first set after world number 103 Maria made unforced errors on crucial points.

Maria, at 34 the oldest player left in the women's draw, had impressed in her stunning straight sets-victory over fifth seed Maria Sakkari in the previous round and she hit back from 1-4 down in the next set before forcing a decider.

Having saved two match points in the second set at 4-5 and with the crowd firmly behind her, Maria capitalised on a mistake from 12th seed Ostapenko to go up 6-5 in a see-saw third set before sealing the match on serve.

Maria said the boisterous support on Court One gave her the belief she needed towards the end of the contest.

"Oh my God, there are no words for this amazing crowd. Even when I was 4-5 down in the third set they were behind me," she added. "I said, 'Okay they believe in me so I believe in me'."

Niemeier sorry for knocking Watson out of Wimbledon

IMAGE: Germany's Jule Niemeier, left, is congratulated by Heather Watson after winning the fourth round match. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Up-and-coming German Jule Niemeier knocked Heather Watson out of Wimbledon's fourth round 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday and apologised for disappointing the crowd by beating a home favourite.

Niemeier, 22, used her big serve and skilled net play to great effect, appearing completely at ease despite the Centre Court crowd's clear support for Watson, who looked tight and anxious.

"I can't believe it. I want to say sorry I had to kick out a British player today. The atmosphere was incredible...," Niemeier, playing only her second Grand Slam tournament said.

Playing after Wimbledon staged a Centre Court centenary celebration including a parade of former champions, Niemeier was quickly into her stride, breaking 30-year-old Watson's serve twice to win the first set.

Watson, playing the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in 42 attempts, found some rhythm in the second set but, after she served two double faults and was broken in the seventh game, Niemeier's stranglehold was complete.

The German, ranked 97 and playing at only her second Grand Slam tournament, reached the quarter-finals on her third match point when Watson put a forehand into the net.

"I was nervous - as soon as I stepped on the court I felt pretty confident so I just tried to focus on my game and play point by point. It went well," Niemeier said. The German will meet compatriot Tatjana Maria in the quarter-finals.

IMAGE: Jule Niemeier, ranked 97, is playing at only her second Grand Slam tournament. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The Dortmund-born player said she was proud to have won a match on Centre Court but had been too nervous to watch the show beforehand.

The ceremony featured more than 20 former champions as well as current men's trophy holder Novak Djokovic.

Grand Slam record holder Margaret Court took part and there was a surprise appearance by eight-times winner Roger Federer, missing this year’s tournament through injury.

Federer's suggestion he might compete next year drew a huge cheer as did the arrival of home winner Andy Murray and six times champion Billie-Jean King.

Before the champions trooped on court in the sunshine, 81-year-old singer Cliff Richard reprised his 1963 hit Summer Holiday from the stands, as he had done to entertain the crowd during a rain-soaked day in 1996 - before the stadium had a roof.

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