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Sunday, August 7, 2022

Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic beats Tim van Rijthoven to set up Jannik Sinner quarter-final

Novak Djokovic has not lost a match at Wimbledon since retiring due to injury against Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals in 2017
Venue: All England Club Dates: 27 June-10 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic continued his pursuit of a seventh Wimbledon title as he reached the quarter-finals with a four-set win over Dutch wildcard Tim van Rijthoven.

Bidding for a fourth successive triumph at the All England Club, the top seed won 6-2 4-6 6-1 6-2 on Centre Court.

Van Rijthoven, ranked 104th, delighted the crowd as he took the second set.

But 20-time major winner Djokovic, 35, responded emphatically to that setback and will meet Jannik Sinner next.

Italian 10th seed Sinner knocked out talented Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz 6-1 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 earlier on Sunday.

Djokovic, who will contest a Wimbledon quarter-final for the 13th time, has now won 25 consecutive Tour-level matches on grass – the third longest such streak in the Open era.

His 25 successive victories at Wimbledon mean he has also drawn level with Pete Sampras in fourth place on the Open era’s list of longest unbeaten runs at SW19.

Van Rijthoven unable to defy odds

Only once has Djokovic lost to a player ranked lower than Van Rijthoven at a Grand Slam – and it has been over five years since that happened, when he fell to the 117th-ranked Denis Istomin at the 2017 Australian Open.

The Dutchman was ranked outside of the world’s top 200 men’s players as recently as June, before his shock victory over world number one Daniil Medvedev at the Libema Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

The statistics did not offer much encouragement for the little-known 25-year-old, whose career has been stalled by debilitating injuries, as he sought to make history as the first wildcard to beat the men’s top seed at a Grand Slam in the open era.

But while he was unable to pull off an almighty upset, Van Rijthoven announced himself on one of the sport’s grandest stages with heavy hitting and a dogged determination to claim the second set.

The experienced Djokovic, who has now won 331 Slam matches, swiftly resettled following his opponent’s moment of glory, however, making just 19 unforced errors in all as he took a little over an hour to win the final two sets.

More to follow.

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