Djokovic's victory march suffers with Wimbledon scheduling



Novak Djokovic will have to postpone his day off and work overtime due to Wimbledon’s inflexible scheduling.

When play was called off late on Sunday, the defending champion and title favourite was leading Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz by two sets, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (6).

Wimbledon officials will be questioned again for insisting on starting play on Centre Court no sooner than 1:30 p.m. (1230 GMT).

Despite knowing that it cannot stay out past the local authority’s 11 p.m. curfew.

Andrey Rublev defeated Alexander Bublik in five sets in three hours and 17 minutes.

This came after Iga Swiatek defeated Belinda Bencic in three sets, two of which were tie-breaks, in just over three hours.

As a result, Djokovic, who ended his match against Stan Wawrinka at 10.46 p.m. on Friday night, and Hurkacz eventually took the court at 8.41 p.m.

Hurkacz hit the first serve of the fourth-round match at 8.49 p.m., after the pre-match pleasantries, coin toss, and warm-up were completed.

This gave Djokovic less than two and a quarter hours to avoid having to return on Monday.

That would be beyond the 23-time grand slam champion against many players, but Hurkacz is the 17th seed.

He is the player who terminated Roger Federer’s Wimbledon career two years ago and has yet to drop service this fortnight.

So, like Andy Murray on Friday, Djokovic will have to return in the afternoon and be crowbarred second into the Centre Court timetable.

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Both players appeared to be in a hurry.

The opening set was over in 36 minutes, with barely a rally of more than four strokes.

Djokovic seldom loses a tiebreak.

He has won all three matches this week, but an unexpected double-fault gave Hurkacz the lead at 4-3.

The underdog hit two aces to earn three set opportunities, but two were lost on Djokovic’s serve before three unforced errors handed Djokovic the set.

At 4-3 in the second set, Djokovic created three break opportunities.

They were thwarted, though, by 134 and 139 mph aces and a 138 mph serve that Djokovic could only hit far.

With Hurkacz stranded mid-court after looping a defensive volley into the air, a fourth break-point should have been taken.

But Djokovic tried to be too charming and pushed it wide, nearly falling over the net.

Djokovic missed a set-point when a rally broke out in the inevitable tie-break by sending a forehand long.

However, he converted the following one to grab a two-set lead before referee Gerry Armstrong appeared to deliver the expected bad news.


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