While Novak Djokovic is being pummelled by aces from Hubert Hurkacz who has notched up 22 so far during their match which was suspended with the Serb leading the Pole by two-sets to love, there is still a gap in the quarter final line up which he will surely fill by the end of Monday.
It was luck, nothing else. I don't think I can do it one more time Andrey Rublev
The match of the day however, was played earlier and featured Andrey Rublev and another big server, Alexander Bublik, who hammered 33 aces past the Russian only to lose a highly charged contest on Centre Court,7-5 6-3 6-7(6) 6-7(8) 6-4.
Bublik’s only consolation is that he ended the week at the top of the aces table with 84, a figure which will be threatened over the next few days by the likes Christopher Eubanks who prior to Monday, sat on 72.
Rublev however, was the victor of the fourth-round match, and he was much relieved at the end of the three-hour and 17-minute contest.
The Russian always knew he was facing a tricky opponent who can easily frustrate you with his unorthodox approach to the game, throwing in an underarm serve on the odd occasion in contrast to his bullet like serves. And all done with a smile!
here were worries that the match might have to be stopped when Rublev picked up a bad cut on the index finger of his racket hand during the first set. A plaster wasn’t sufficient to stop the bleeding and halfway through a Bublik service game, he was forced to halt the match and ask for medical attention. A more robust dressing was provided and fortunately, he was able to continue without any hindrance.
And it was Bublk who blinked first as he handed the first set to the seventh seed with a double fault of which he was to deliver 14 during the match. He then went two sets down but not withstanding those setbacks, the Kazakhstani grabbed the initiative in the next two with some aggressive play to drive Rublev mad as he constantly looked and sked for advice from his coaching team.
Somehow he hung on and persevered and, as he was to admit later, fortune was on his side following an astonishing get to set up a match point which saw Rublev dive full length to his right to retrieve what looked like a certain Bublik winner, and lift it back over the net to the amazement of his opponent, who shook his head in admiration and astonishment. A point later Bublic was packing his bags as Rublev held his arms aloft in a victory salute.
Discussing that remarkable rally that took him to 40-15 in the last game, Rublev said on court: “It was the most lucky shot ever!
“It was luck, nothing else. I don’t think I can do it one more time.
“I was just thinking it doesn’t matter, I lost the third set and fourth set. I said if I keep playing, I would have one chance, and in the end I had it, played a really good volley and was able to break him.
“Every set I had chances, on match point he served full power. I kept thinking just keep playing, don’t start to explode before the match is over. In the end I was able to make it.”
Joining Rublev’s enjoyment at making it into the second week – a first time for the Russian – was the eighth seeded Jannik Sinner who reached it for a third time after eliminating Colombia’s Daniel Elahi Galan 7-6(4) 6-4 6-3.
The young Italian joins his compatriot Matte Berrettini in the last eight, a reflection of the depth of talent available to that country with 47 playing at Wimbledon this year in all the disciplines, including qualifying and juniors.
Sinner will hope to improve on his previous runs when he faces the world No.94 Roman Safiuillen, the 25-year-old Russian who took advantage of a below par Denis Shapovalov carrying some injury in his left side, to beat the Canadian 3-6 6-3 6-1 6-3.
“Today was a very tough day,” Sinner said. “I wasn’t feeling so great on the court but still I tried to fight for every ball and knowing him, he is a very good server and he hits the forehand very, very well so I tried to somehow win the most important points.
“For sure Roman Safiullin is a very tough challenge. Every player who gets to the quarter finals deserves to be there. I will try to play my best.
“I played him in the ATP Cup a couple of years ago and it was a very tough match. He hits the ball very hard. But let’s see. That’s the problem for the day after tomorrow.”
In the men’s doubles, Jamie Murray and Michael Venus progressed to the third round, but there were defeats for all British pair Liam Broady and Jonny O’Mara in the first round, and for Lloyd Glasspool and Nicolas Mahut in the second round.
Murray was also victorious in the first round of the mixed doubles with Taylor Townsend, as were Joe Salisbury and Heather Watson, but Katie Boulter and Alex de Minaur lost.