LONDON, July 8 (US): Novak Djokovic showed once again why he remains invincible at Wimbledon, as young challenger Carlos Alcaraz crowned center court for the first time and Andy Murray’s hopes of a Greek tragedy ended in another marathon day on the grass court on Friday.
Reuters reports that Serbian Djokovic, who has been chasing records on multiple fronts, left it late to book his place in the fourth round by defeating Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 6-1, 7-6(5) before the 11pm Wimbledon curfew.
Spain’s world number one Alcaraz was held back by rain this week but rallied with a 6-4 7-6(2) 6-3 victory over France’s Alexandre Mueller.
Women’s top seed Iga Swiatek continued her quiet run with her third straight sets win – this time against Croatia’s Petra Martic 6-2, 7-5.
Second seed Aryna Sabalenka panicked before hitting the ball to defeat France’s Varvara Gracheva 2-6 7-5 6-2.
For the British fans, at least, day five failed with Murray unable to finish fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The 36-year-old had led by two sets to one after Thursday’s late-night match and there was a wave of Beams-fueled optimism that he could finish the job on Saturday.
Tsitsipas had second thoughts and silenced the partisan Center Court crowd to win 7-6 (3) 6-7 (2) 4-6 7-6 (3) 6-4 on the 10th anniversary of Murray’s first Wimbledon triumph.
“Obviously I’m very disappointed now,” the Scotsman told reporters while addressing the loss.
“Yeah, obviously you never know how many chances you’ll have to play here. Defeats probably seem more difficult. But, honestly, every year Wimbledon hasn’t gone the way I want it to, it’s been tough.”
Shortly before Murray’s death, Briton 12th seed Cameron Norrie was knocked out in the second round by in-form American Christopher Eubanks – a suspension-soaked player who is making his Wimbledon debut.
And to rub salt in the wounds, wildcard player Liam Brodie on Thursday stunned fourth seed Casper Rudd, who lost to mercurial Canadian Denis Shapovalov 4-6 6-2 7-5 7-5.
Britain’s sole survivor is Katie Poulter, who takes on women’s champion Elena Rybakina on Saturday.
Brodie has at least the honor of being Britain’s Male Player of the Year this year, although he didn’t take much comfort from that fact.
“It kind of makes it worse that we all lost on the same day, too. We probably would have felt a bit better if we’d just freaked out about the days we’ve lost, whereas now it’s a bit like a Debbie Downer, isn’t it?” He told reporters.
Alcaraz mixed strikes, fearsome returns and accurate shots to beat Muller, declaring afterwards that he belongs on “a really nice court” and hopes to play Djokovic in the final on Sunday.
“I feel ready to play more matches and play more great matches on that court,” US Open champion Alcaraz said after reaching the third round, where he will play Chile’s Nicolas Jarry on Saturday.
“It would be amazing to play a final here at Wimbledon. Even better to play Novak obviously.”
A busy day in the women’s draw ended with a bang under the roof of Court One as fifth seed Caroline Garcia outlasted 32nd seed Marie Bouzkova 7-6 (0) 4-6 7-5.
Earlier Lesya Tsurenko won a thrilling match against Anna Bogdan after saving five match points and winning a 38-point tiebreaker, the longest in Grand Slam women’s singles history.
The Ukrainian and fellow unseeded opponent from Romania split the opening two sets, but an incredible fight broke out at 6-6 as Tsurenko went deep to win the break 20-8.
Tunisia’s Anas Jabeur powered through China’s Bai Chuquan in qualifying with a 6-1 6-1 victory in 45 minutes, while former two-time champion Petra Kvitova advanced to the third round after ninth seed beat Belarusian Aleksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-2.
She was joined by Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, who retired from her Spanish rival, Paula Badosa, due to a back injury. Badusa, Tsitsipas’ girlfriend of 25, also withdrew from the mixed doubles in which she was scheduled to play alongside him.
Italian Yannick Sinner, who reached the quarter-finals last year and is seeded eighth, recovered from a bad start to beat Frenchman Quentin Hales 3-6 6-2 6-3 6-4, while Russian third seed Daniel Medvedev defeated Adrian Mannarino 6-3 6. 3 7-6 (5).
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