Novak Djokovic beats fading light and Karen Khachanov to reach Wimbledon quarters
Novak Djokovic ensured he will have a Wimbledon rest day on Tuesday after beating Karen Khachanov and the fading light to reach the quarter-finals.
Scheduled last on No. 1 Court, Djokovic and Khachanov did not get underway until after 19:00 local time at the All England Club on Monday.
That left them facing the prospect of their encounter dragging into Tuesday but Djokovic was in no mood to let that happen as he overcame rising star Khachanov in ultimately routine fashion.
Khachanov’s display was flashy but full of errors, and Djokovic was ruthless in punishing them, coming through 6-4 6-2 6-2 to set up a last-eight meeting with Kei Nishikori.
A glimpse of the potential that has seen Khachanov’s reputation grow came in the first game as a superb cross-court forehand helped him break.
However, Djokovic immediately and emphatically responded with a break to love, and then forged a 4-2 lead when Khachanov fired into the net, only for the Russian to maintain the frenetic nature of the opener with a second break of his own.
Yet the 22-year-old, playing in the last 16 for the second successive grand slam, saw his hopes severely hindered by mistakes and a sliced forehand wide gave Djokovic a pair of break points – only one of which he needed.
Djokovic’s momentum continued into the second set and he raced into a 3-0 lead. The world number 40 was unable to mount a response this time and evidence fortune was in the Serbian’s favour came on his second of two set points when a Khachanov slip enabled him to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Khachanov overcame more misfortune as he held to level the third set at 2-2 despite Djokovic twice receiving the help of a net cord, but he could not survive more pressure two games later, scooping a backhand long to put his opponent on the brink.
The 12th seed’s frustration was clear when Khachanov saved a pair of match points amid the rapidly deteriorating light, however, the Russian could not stave off a third as a 20-shot rally ended in him netting a backhand.
Tenacious Simon takes del Potro into second day
Fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro met stubborn resistance from Frenchman Gilles Simon and had to settle for a suspension of their Wimbledon fourth round match as he led 7-6(1) 7-6(5) 5-7 after more than three hours on Court Two on Monday.
The big Argentine is looking to set up a mouth-watering quarter-final against Rafael Nadal, looking to avenge his defeat by the Spaniard, seeded second at Wimbledon, in the French Open semi-finals last month.