IMAGES from Day 5 of the Wimbledon Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on Friday.
Djokovic schools Kecmanovic to reach last 16 again
Novak Djokovic clinically disposed of fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic as he continued his relentless pursuit of a fourth successive Wimbledon title with a 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 victory on Friday.
The top seed was unplayable in the opening set of his third-round match on Centre Court, taking it in 24 minutes.
Kecmanovic, seeded 25, received the biggest cheer of the day when he finally got on the scoreboard after 35 minutes by taking a long service game.
But Djokovic was streets ahead of his 22-year-old rival as he reached the last 16 at Wimbledon for the 14th time.
The 35-year-old needed just one break of serve in the second set and broke twice in the third to lead 5-2 before blotting his copybook slightly with a couple of loose games.
It only delayed the inevitable, however, as Djokovic completed victory to set up a clash with Dutch wildcard Tim van Rijthoven.
Jabeur makes fast work of former junior No. 1 Parry
Ons Jabeur was kept on court for more than hour – but only just – as the speedy Tunisian dispatched former junior number one Diane Parry 6-2, 6-3 on Friday to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon.
The World No 2 has shown little mercy during her progress to the third round, spending less than two hours on court. Had she not been broken by Parry when serving for the first set at 5-0 up, she would have made it into the last 16 in less than three hours on court during the first five days of the grasscourt major.
That break not only earned 19-year-old Parry, one of four Frenchwomen to reach the third round, a rousing ovation from the Centre Court crowd but boosted her confidence as she raised her game to hit some sublime one-handed backhand winners.
Although the teenager could not rescue the first set, which Jabeur sealed with an ace, she stayed toe-to-toe with the third seed in the second set until 3-3.
It was at this point Jabeur moved in to deliver the knockout punch as she broke Parry to love and moments later she was celebrating her passage into the fourth round — having been kept on court for 68 minutes.
She will next meet Belgian 24th seed Elise Mertens.
Mertens beats former Wimbledon champion Kerber to reach last 16
Elise Mertens stayed solid against an error-prone Angelique Kerber of Germany to defeat the former Wimbledon champion 6-4, 7-5 on Friday and reach the fourth round.
Mertens will next meet third seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia for a place in the quarter-finals.
The Belgian achieved her best showing at the grasscourt Grand Slam in 2019 when she got to the last 16 and came into Friday’s contest having defeated the three-times major winner in their only previous meeting three years ago.
The 26-year-old Belgian, who reached a career-high ranking of 12th in 2018, had to save two match points against Panna Udvardy in a second-round clash that lasted three hours 15 minutes and stretched over two days.
“It was a very good match on my side,” Mertens told reporters after beating 15th seed Kerber. “I had two difficult ones just before, saving two match points. So I’m very happy that I could close this one in two sets.
“I think my level was way better today than the last couple of days.”
Mertens broke the left-handed Kerber in the fourth game and served for the opening set at 5-3, only for the German to break back.
But the 24th-seed did not lose her composure and broke the 2018 Wimbledon champion to love.
Appearing in her 51st consecutive major, the 34-year-old Kerber seemed to have got the momentum back when she cracked Mertens’ serve and took a 5-3 lead in the second set.
But with the former world number one serving to level the match, Mertens broke back and sealed the contest when Kerber committed her 28th unforced error with a return into the net.
Mertens, who won the Wimbledon doubles title in 2021, has now reached at least the third round of the last 18 majors she has competed in.
“I’m aware of the streak, yeah, yeah,” said Mertens, whose best result at a Grand Slam came in 2018 when she reached the Australian Open semi-finals.
“It’s a very good one.
“Of course, I want to do even better. But, yeah, it’s a bit unusual… third round for 18 times. I mean, that also gives you a little bit of confidence I guess coming into a Grand Slam.
“But as for now I think grass is a very particular surface and I try to adjust as good as I can. This week it’s going good so far.”
Maria stuns fifth seed Sakkari to reach first major fourth round
Germany’s Tatjana Maria, at 34 the oldest player left in the women’s draw, knocked fifth seed Maria Sakkari out of Wimbledon 6-3, 7-5 on Friday to make the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.
Ranked 103rd, the mother of two returned from maternity leave just under a year ago and rallied from 3-0 down in the deciding set to defeat Sorana Cirstea in her previous round for a first win over a top-50 player in more than two years.
Maria will next face 12th-seeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, for a place in the quarter-finals of the grasscourt major.
Greek Sakkari, who reached the French and US Open semi-finals last year, made 30 unforced errors and could only convert one of her seven breakpoint opportunities.
Tiafoe steals the show in Bublik circus act
American 23rd seed Frances Tiafoe kept his focus in the face of an Alexander Bublik circus act on Friday to reach the Wimbledon fourth round for the first time.
The 24-year-old punched the air with delight as a Bublik double-fault sealed a 3-6, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory in front an enthralled audience on Court Two.
Kazakhstan’s Bublik is one of the great entertainers in men’s tennis — a rival to Nick Kyrgios in terms of trick shots but without the scowls and controversy.
Bublik held the upper hand when he took the opening set but Tiafoe stuck manfully to his task and won the second on a tiebreak before doing the same in the third.
Bublik appeared to have thrown in the towel when trailing 3-0 in the fourth but it was just a ruse.
The world number 38 delivered virtually every first serve under arm in the following game and when most of them failed to land in the box he followed up with 130mph second serves.
There was also pure genius from Bublik, including a no-look drop shot and scorching baseline winners, and he miraculously retrieved a lob to win a magical rally and break serve, before squaring the set at 4-4 with a booming ace.
Tiafoe looked in danger of being suckered in to the Bublik sideshow when he faced a break point at 4-4 but the American banged down an ace and held with a drop shot reply to a Bublik serve return drop shot, getting a clap from his opponent.
The crowd wanted the match to go on, such was the level of entertainment, but Bublik could not hold.
He left the court smiling and to huge cheers, while Tiafoe can now look forward to a more conventional test against either David Goffin or Ugo Umbert.
Tiafoe is only the third active American male player to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam on four occasions, the others being John Isner and Sam Querrey.
Briton Watson makes a fourth round at 43rd attempt
Britain’s Heather Watson reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in 43 attempts over 12 years on Friday as she beat Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan 7-6 (6), 6-2 in front of a barely believing crowd on Wimbledon Court one.
Watson, 30, has slipped to 121st in the world rankings and fourth in Britain and although she has tasted notable success in doubles, she has never been able to sustain a challenge in singles at the top level, her best Wimbledon performances being reaching the third round three times.
She came through an awkward first set full of slices and drop shots against 21-year-old Juvan and did not let her head drop after blowing three set points in the tiebreak before taking it 8-6 on a double fault by the 60th-ranked Slovenian.
Energised, Watson blasted to a 5-0 lead in the second set, adding power and confidence to her groundstrokes, and though Juvan launched a late rally, Watson prevailed to cap a week to remember in which she has been on court five days in a row after her first two matches ran into second days.
Van Rijthoven extends fairytale run at Wimbledon
Dutch wildcard Tim van Rijthoven continued his fairytale grasscourt run on Friday, claiming his eight straight victory on the surface to storm into the Wimbledon fourth round on his Grand Slam main draw debut.
The 25-year-old was ranked 205th in the world and had not won a title even on the Challenger Tour 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.
“From the outside it obviously looks like a fairytale because it came out of nowhere for a lot of people,” Van Rijthoven told reporters after defeating 22nd seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in the third round.
“Also, the ATP title for me came out of nowhere because I didn’t even win a challenger title before. Played some finals. The level there is just also very high.
“It’s basically a sum-up of a lot of hard work, a lot of belief, and eventually very positive vibes just going into matches and going into practices.”
Van Rijthoven defeated big-serving American Reilly Opelka, seeded 15th, in his previous round and Friday’s victory made him the first men’s wildcard to reach the round of 16 at Wimbledon since Denis Kudla in 2015.
He sent down 21 aces against Basilashvili.
“For me the serve I think is working fantastic,” said the Dutchman, who was deprived of three years of his playing career due to three major injuries. “I’ve only been broken the last, let’s say, eight matches a couple times.
“Because of the serve I can just set up my game very well. I like to play aggressive, like to play a lot of forehands, also like to use my slice. All those things are very nice to have on grass.”
Next up is a potential meeting with six-times Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, who meets fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic later on Friday.
“Before the tournament started, it was a dream for me to play him basically,” said van Rijthoven, whose news conference on Friday was moved from a smaller room to the main interview room due to the media interest.
“So to be able to have that chance and to maybe even play on Centre Court or Court One is beautiful and magical.
“I go into every match thinking I can win the match. Also against Djokovic I’ll go into that match thinking I can win that match.”
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