Djokovic hits out over de­lay af­ter book­ing place in quar­ters

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

LON­DON: No­vak Djokovic crit­i­cised Wim­ble­don of­fi­cials for mak­ing the “wrong de­ci­sion” in post­pon­ing his fourth round match yes­ter­day af­ter he eased into the quar­ter­fi­nals a day later than ex­pected with a 6-2 7-6(5) 6-4 win over France’s Adrian Man­nar­ino.

The con­test was held over af­ter the marathon bat­tle be­tween Rafael Nadal and Gilles Muller con­cluded late on Mon­day.

The Serb, who had been stuck wait­ing for the end of that bat­tle only to be sent home, said it would have been bet­ter to have moved his match to the, by then un­used, Cen­tre Court.

“I just think it was a wrong de­ci­sion not to play us last night, be­cause we could have played,” Djokovic said.

“I think the last match on the Cen­tre Court was done be­fore 7pm. Hav­ing in mind that Cen­tre Court has the roof and lights, we could have played till 11pm.”

When the match did get un­der way, light rain led of­fi­cials to close the roof over Cen­tre Court, but de­spite his frus­tra­tions Djokovic came out strongly and eas­ily won the first set.

The sec­ond-seed took a 3-0 lead in the sec­ond, but Man­nar­ino broke back in the sev­enth game and took the con­test to a tie-break. Both play­ers strug­gled to hold serve, but Djokovic won five of the last six points to tri­umph.

The Serb, who will face Czech To­mas Berdych in the last eight, got his nose in front with a break in the third game of the third set and never looked in dan­ger from then on.

Else­where, Venus Wil­liams handed out an­other les­son to one of Wim­ble­don’s young up­starts when she beat Je­lena Ostapenko 6-3 7-5 yes­ter­day to be­come the old­est women’s semi-fi­nal­ist in 23 years.

The five-times cham­pion, who turned 37 last month, tamed the big-hit­ting Lat­vian with a rock-solid per­for­mance un­der the Cen­tre Court roof, win­ning with some­thing to spare.

The Amer­i­can, who must scroll back to Wim­ble­don 2008 for her sev­enth, and most re­cent, grand slam sin­gles ti­tle, broke Ostapenko’s serve in the sec­ond game and was un­trou­bled in tak­ing the opener in 29 min­utes. She sealed it when her 13th-seeded op­po­nent swished at thin air on an at­tempted fore­hand ser­vice re­turn.

Ostapenko was sub­dued as Wil­liams se­cured an early break in the sec­ond set, although she got a help­ing hand back into the match when Wil­liams dou­ble-faulted to drop serve. That had the ef­fect of lighting the Ostapenko fuse and she be­gan to look threat­en­ing as she held serve to love with an ace to move 4-3 ahead on a gloomy Cen­tre Court.

Wil­liams had to serve to stay in the sec­ond set at 4-5 and was relieved to see an Ostapenko re­turn land nar­rowly wide at 30-30 be­fore squar­ing the set. Ostapenko felt the pres­sure in the next game when a hur­ried fore­hand into the net gave Wil­liams the break and the veteran needed no sec­ond in­vi­ta­tion, hold­ing serve to love to claim vic­tory.

Mean­while, Spain’s 2015 run­ner-up Gar­bine Mugu­ruza ad­vanced con­fi­dently into the Wim­ble­don semi-fi­nals with a calmly ef­fi­cient and well­con­trolled 6-3 6-4 vic­tory over Rus­sian sev­enth seed Svet­lana Kuznetsova.

Mugu­ruza, the 2016 French Open cham­pion who lost to Ser­ena Wil­liams in the Wim­ble­don fi­nal the pre­vi­ous year, had just that bit more con­trol in a hard-hit­ting base­line duel to fol­low up her vic­tory over top seed An­gelique Ker­ber on Mon­day.

Mugu­ruza, seeded 14th, saved a tricky break point on her sec­ond ser­vice game – the only one she faced all match – but roared back to break to love en route to tak­ing the first set. An­other early break in the sec­ond piled the pres­sure on Kuznetsova and she was rarely able to threaten.

Mugu­ruza, who has reached the last four for the loss of one set, brought up match point with an ace down the mid­dle and won it cour­tesy of an­other big serve to earn a semi-fi­nal meet­ing with Mag­dalena Ry­barikova or Coco Van­deweghe. – Reuters FIRED UP: Ser­bia’s No­vak Djokovic cel­e­brates win­ning a point as he plays against Adrian Man­nar­ino of France dur­ing their Men’s Sin­gles Match on day eight at the Wim­ble­don Ten­nis Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don yes­ter­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.