Novak Djokovic is through to the quarter-finals of Wimbledon for the 14th time after defeating Hubert Hurkacz in four sets.
After being forced into two tie-breaks and dropping a set for the first time, Djokovic stepped up a gear to claim a 7-6(6), 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-4 win over the Pole in a match spanning two days and totalling three hours and six minutes.
His first real challenge of the tournament so far, the Serbian revealed afterwards that the quality of his opponents tennis, his serve in particular, made him ‘miserable’.
‘’Big credit to Hubert for playing an amazing match, tough luck for him today,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview.
“But he put up a great performance. Honestly, I don't recall the last time I felt this miserable in returning games to be honest, due to his incredibly accurate and powerful serve.’’
Two lengthy first sets meant Djokovic fell victim to the 11pm curfew on Sunday evening and was forced to return on Monday to get the job done, fending off Hurkacz’s 33 aces along the way to clinch his 32nd consecutive tour-level win on grass.
‘’He’s got one of the best serves in the world and it's so difficult to read it,’’ Djokovic said.
‘’Playing obviously on the quickest surface in [the] sport, grass court, it really favours big servers. So it was not really [an] enjoyable match for me, I must say.
“But I guess in the important moments, yesterday last night, I was fortunate really, to win that first set. I was 3/6 down in the tie-break.
‘’This match definitely could have gone a different way. But I guess I held my nerves when it mattered and I'm happy to win.’’
Djokovic will now face No. 7 seed Andrey Rublev, who he leads 3-1 in the ATP Head2Head series, in the next round as he continues his bid for a 24th Grand Slam title.