Sports, Tennis

Djokovic, Alcaraz close in on duel


By AFP
Published : 02 Jul 2022 07:55 PM

Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz closed in on a Wimbledon generational clash Friday as the women's draw was left with just four top-10 seeds standing.

Three-time defending champion Djokovic demolished Serbian compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 in the third round to stay on course to equal Pete Sampras as a seven-time champion, one behind Roger Federer's men's record.

Friday's win was the 330th of Djokovic's Grand Slam career.

Djokovic has now won 22 successive matches on grass and is in the last 16 at Wimbledon for the 14th time.

He has not lost a grass-court match since falling to Marin Cilic in the final at Queen's four years ago.

Djokovic’s only blip was being broken when he served for the match at 5-2 in the third set.

In the last 16, he will face Dutch wild card Tim van Rijthoven.

Playing in his debut Grand Slam main draw, the world No 104 defeated 22nd seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

The 25-year old Van Rijthoven proved his prowess on grass by winning the 's-Hertogenbosch title last month, defeating world No 1 Daniil Medvedev in the final.

Van Rijthoven is only the seventh man since 2000 to reach the round of 16 on his Grand Slam debut.

After needing four sets to get past Kwon Soon-woo in the first round, Djokovic has dropped just 14 games since.

If he beats Van Rijthoven, he could meet Alcaraz in the quarter-finals.

The 19-year old Spaniard swept past Germany's Oscar Otte 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 to make the fourth round for the first time.

Alcaraz, who hit 37 winners in total, goes on to face Italian 10th seed Jannik Sinner, who put out John Isner in straight sets.

The only consolation for Isner was passing Ivo Karlovic as the sport's greatest hitter of aces, taking his career total to 13,748.

British ninth seed Cameron Norrie also qualified for the last 16 with a thumping 6-4, 6-1, 6-0 win over Steve Johnson.

Maria Sakkari became the sixth of the top 10 women's seeds to crash out before the end of the third round.

The fifth-seeded Greek lost 6-3, 7-5 to German world No 103 Tatjana Maria, who returned to the tour last year after maternity leave.

Maria, in the fourth round of a Slam for the first time, will face former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko for a place in the quarter-finals.

Ostapenko, a semi-finalist in 2018, took her winners count to 102 over three rounds by defeating Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.