Djokovic suffers, but wins at Wimbledon like England in

Djokovic suffers, but wins at Wimbledon like England in
Djokovic suffers, but wins at Wimbledon like England in

Novak Djokovic, like the English team, started off by losing his match against Alexei Popyrin and had to come back. The Serbian, whose match was stopped for a few moments to celebrate England’s passage to the semi-finals of the European Championship, got rid of the Australian and returns to the last 16 of Wimbledon for the eighth consecutive edition (4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and 7-6 (3)).

The seven-time champion has no physical ailments or problems with his knee, which remains protected by a knee brace, but he does have gaps in his game that Popyrin, who already took a set from him in Australia in January, took advantage of on Saturday to once again scrape a set away from him.

The Australian converted the only break point of the entire set to take the lead against Djokovic, who was clearly frustrated after losing a set to an inferior player once again. This time, the setback was more dangerous, because Popyrin is a more than decent server and a player who, due to his background, likes this type of court.

Popyrin’s problem is that he is one of the many promising players who have never fulfilled their promises. Roland Garros junior champion in 2017, Popyrin, at 24, has never been among the top 35 in the world and when faced with the opportunity to beat Djokovic – he had a break point to take the lead in the second set – he did what almost everyone does against the Serbian: give up.

While England were drawing with Switzerland in Germany, Djokovic was raising his level. When the English sealed their place in the semi-finals on penalties, the match on the centre court was briefly halted. A standing ovation went through the stands with Djokovic at 4-1 and a break point. The Serbian, who is not bothered by these setbacks, joked with his opponent and pretended to take a penalty.

These gestures are unusual at a tournament as traditional as Wimbledon, where even the blinds in the press room, where there are televisions showing the Euro Cup matches, are lowered to prevent fans from sticking to the windows to watch the matches.

The image of Djokovic imitating the penalty denoted a certain calm. It showed a man confident of himself, while his daughter read a book in the stands. There was confidence in dad.

And dad delivered. Djokovic, from 1-1 in the second set, did not allow a single break point and sealed the match in the tiebreak.

With great difficulty, Djokovic is already in the second week of the tournament.

In the round of 16, Djokovic will face an old acquaintance, Holger Rune, who came back from two sets down against server Quentin Halys (1-6, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (4) and 6-1). The Frenchman, despite hitting 29 aces, faltered in the tiebreak of the fourth set and collapsed against Rune, who will face Djokovic for the sixth time in his career, whom he has beaten twice, in Paris-Bercy 2022 and in Rome 2023.

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