Ominous Djokovic roars into last 16 at Wimbledon
LONDON – Three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic reached the Wimbledon last 16 for the 14th time on Friday with a straight-set demolition of Serbian compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic.
Djokovic, looking to pull level with Pete Sampras as a seven-time Wimbledon champion, triumphed 6-0, 6-3, 6-4. Friday’s win was the 330th of his Grand Slam career. “So far, so good,” said the 35-year-old top seed, who has now reached the last 16 of a major for the 55th time. “I expect high standards from myself. You always want to raise the level and things are shaping up well.”
In other men’s draw, three Americans advanced — one to the third round and two to the fourth. Qualifier Jack Sock finished off a 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (1) victory over another American, Maxime Cressy, in a match that was suspended Thursday after the second set. That made him the eighth American man to reach the third round, the most at any Grand Slam tournament since 1996.
Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul were also among those eight, and they already earned themselves a spot in the fourth round. The 23rd-seeded Tiafoe, who is making his fifth appearance at the All England Club, beat Alexander Bublik 3-6, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (3), 6-4. Paul, seeded 30th, defeated Jiri Vesely 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
In the women’s draw, Heather Watson has been through a lot at Wimbledon, and now she’s made it through the third round for the first time. The 121st-ranked Watson, making is her 12th appearance at the All England Club, advanced to the fourth round on Friday by beating Kaja Juvan 7-6 (6), 6-2.
The pressure on British players at their home Grand Slam can be immense. Watson and every other British player know that well. Before Andy Murray won the men’s title, the talk among the locals would endlessly focus on Fred Perry and Virginia Wade, the last British singles champions at the All England Club.
Murray ended some of that in 2013, becoming the first British man to win the Wimbledon title since Perry in 1936. Wade, in 1977, remains the last female British champion of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament. In the next round, Watson will face Jule Niemeier of Germany. She beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Third-seeded Ons Jabeur also reached the fourth round, defeating Diane Parry 6-2, 6-3, while 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko beat Irina-Camelia Begu 3-6, 6-1, 6-1. Fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari, however, was eliminated. The Greek player, who reached the semifinals at both the French Open and the U.S. Open last year, lost to Tatjana Maria of Germany 6-3, 7-5.