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Djokovic marches on after 75th Wimbledon win as history-making Jabeur beats sickness to make last 16
World number one Djokovic is chasing a record-equalling 20th major at Wimbledon.

WORLD NUMBER ONE Novak Djokovic clinched his 75th win at Wimbledon, as Ons Jabeur overcame vomiting on match point to become the first Tunisian woman to reach the second week at the All England Club.

Defending champion Djokovic survived a nervy third set to defeat 114th-ranked American qualifier Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (9/7) to book a place in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the 55th time.

Djokovic, chasing a record-equalling 20th major, cruised through the first two sets but then had to fight back from 1-4 down and also 1/4 in the tiebreaker on Court One.

“It’s the trademark of every pro athlete that you never give up,” said Djokovic who is halfway to becoming only the third man in history — and first since Rod Laver in 1969 — to complete the calendar Slam.

“I am always trying to give my maximum out there especially when playing one of the biggest tournaments.”

Next up for Djokovic is Chilean 17th seed Christian Garin who defeated Spain’s Pedro Martinez 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

World number 24 Ons Jabeur defeated 2017 champion Garbine Muguruza 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 on the back of 44 winners and generating 29 break points.

Muguruza saved 24 of them but was still unable to break the spirit of Arab trailblazer Jabeur who came through despite throwing up at the Royal Box end on Centre Court as she served for the match.

- Stomach problem -

“I’m actually having a problem with my stomach. I have inflammation,” said Jabeur.

“It has been going on for a while. It bothers me probably with the stress.”

Jabeur next takes on Poland’s Iga Swiatek, the seventh seed, who was the first player into the last 16 with a 55-minute 6-1, 6-0 demolition of Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu.

Swiatek, the 2018 junior champion, had only won one match on grass on the main tour prior to Wimbledon.

“It’s hard to compare my previous years on grass, because in 2019 I was physically weaker,” said Swiatek, beaten in the Wimbledon first round in 2019.

“I didn’t actually have an idea on how to play on grass. This time it’s much, much better, so I just developed overall.”

In a wide open women’s draw, Swiatek is just one of three top 10 seeds still standing along with top-ranked Ashleigh Barty, who plays the third round on Saturday, and second seeded Aryna Sabalenka.

Sabalenka made the last 16 for the first time by beating Colombian qualifier Maria Camila Osorio Serrano 6-0, 6-3.

Sabalenka next faces fellow big-hitter Elena Rybakina, the 18th-seeded Kazakh who saw off Shelby Rogers 6-1, 6-4.

- ‘Fan of Andy’ -

Former world number one Karolina Pliskova made the last 16 for the third time with a 6-3, 6-3 win over fellow Czech Tereza Martincova.

Pliskova will meet Russian wildcard Liudmila Samsonova who defeated former US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.

Samsonova, who won the Berlin title after coming through qualifying on the eve of Wimbledon, fired 33 winners to Stephens’s eight.

The Russian has now won 10 successive matches on grass.

Former two-time champion Andy Murray, who put in a spectacular performance to beat qualifier Oscar Otte from two sets to one down on Wednesday, has a tough assignment against 10th seeded Denis Shapovalov of Canada.

Murray, now down at 118 in the world, is playing the singles event for the first time since 2017 having battled hip and groin injuries.

Friday’s encounter will be his first meeting with a top 20 player at Wimbledon since winning the title for the second time in 2016.

Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev booked a last-16 spot for the first time by seeing off mercurial Italian Fabio Fognini 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.

Rublev next faces Marton Fucsovics who stunned Argentine ninth seed Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4 to become the first Hungarian man in the fourth round since Balazs Taroczy in 1980.

Karen Khachanov made it a double Russian celebration by putting out Frances Tiafoe — who had knocked out third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round — 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

© – AFP, 2021

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