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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Wimbledon 2017: Novak Djokovic 'delighted' to reach fourth round

Three-time champion Novak Djokovic reached the Wimbledon fourth round for the 10th time on Saturday with a 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 win over Ernests Gulbis of Latvia.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the third round match against Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the third round match against Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis.

Three-time champion Novak Djokovic reached the Wimbledon fourth round for the 10th time on Saturday with a 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 win over Ernests Gulbis of Latvia.

Second seed Djokovic will play France’s Adrian Mannarino for a place in the quarter-finals

“I’m delighted with the performance today. I thought I raised the level of tennis,” said Djokovic after making the second week without dropping a set.

“Comparing to the first couple of matches and the last couple of weeks I think this was the most focused I was on the court.”

READ MORE: Muguruza, Wozniacki, Kerber and Dimitrov advance

Gulbis, now ranked at a lowly 589 after once reaching 10 in the world in 2014 when he defeated Roger Federer on his way to the French Open semi-finals, fired 37 unforced errors to Djokovic’s meagre 12.

“It’s not easy obviously playing on grass against a big server like that,” said Djokovic of his childhood friend Gulbis.

“I’m very pleased with the way I’ve felt, the way I’ve played.”

Last year’s runners-up are back in the second week at Wimbledon.

Top-ranked Angelique Kerber and third-seeded Milos Raonic both advanced to the fourth round at the All England Club, though they had different experiences on court.

Kerber, who lost to Serena Williams in last year’s final, held on to beat Shelby Rogers of the United States 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 in the third round. Raonic had a more straightforward time, beating Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 7-6, 6-4, 7-5 a year after losing to Andy Murray in the final.

“It was tough to find my rhythm actually. She played very well from the first point,” Kerber said. “She was hitting the balls very hard.

“In the second set, I was starting to [feel] the ball better and better. I think the key was at the end that I was fighting, and I was never giving up at the end. Doesn’t matter how the score was.”

Besides reaching the Wimbledon final last year, Kerber won the Australian Open and US Open. That made her only the fourth player in the Open era to reach three grand slam finals in the same season.

This year, Kerber lost in the fourth round at the Australian Open and then became the first top-seeded woman at the French Open to lose in the first round in the Open era.

After dropping the opening set against Rogers yesterday, Kerber trailed 3-1 in the second before turning things around.

The top-ranked German will next face 2015 Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza on Monday. Muguruza, the 2016 French Open champion, beat Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-2.

Raonic finished with more than twice as many winners, 55, as unforced errors, 26. He will be playing in the fourth round for the third time in four years.

“I did a lot of things well today,” Raonic said. “I was efficient on my serve, created a bunch of opportunities. I started getting better and better there.

“Maybe at the beginning I wasn’t controlling the situation enough. But as the match went on, I felt like I was dictating more so from the baseline.”

The Canadian will next face Alexander Zverev, who beat Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.