WIMBLEDON | Djokovic eases through as women's draw loses six appeal

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Serbian star Novak Djokovic
Serbian star Novak Djokovic
SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP

Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz closed in on a Wimbledon generational clash on Friday as the women's draw was left with just four top-10 seeds standing.

Three-time defending champion Djokovic demolished Serbian compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 in the third round to stay on course to equal Pete Sampras as a seven-time champion, one behind Roger Federer's men's record.

Friday's win was the 330th of Djokovic's Grand Slam career.

"So far, so good," said the 35-year-old top seed.

"I expect high standards from myself. You always want to raise the level and things are shaping up well."

Djokovic has now won 22 successive matches on grass and is in the last 16 at Wimbledon for the 14th time.

He has not lost a grass-court match since falling to Marin Cilic in the final at Queen's four years ago.

"I started very well, very strong with a lot of intensity and focus," added Djokovic, whose only blip was being broken when he served for the match at 5-2 in the third set.

In the last 16, he will face Dutch wild card Tim van Rijthoven.

Playing in his debut Grand Slam main draw, the world number 104 defeated 22nd seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

The 25-year-old Van Rijthoven proved his prowess on grass by winning the 's-Hertogenbosch title last month, defeating world number one Daniil Medvedev in the final.

"Before the tournament started, it was a dream for me to play Djokovic," said Van Rijthoven, only the seventh man since 2000 to reach the round of 16 on his Grand Slam debut.

"So to be able to have that chance and to maybe even play on Centre Court or Court 1 is beautiful and magical."

After needing four sets to get past Kwon Soon-woo in the first round, Djokovic has dropped just 14 games since.

If he beats Van Rijthoven, he could meet Alcaraz in the quarter-finals.

The 19-year-old Spaniard swept past Germany's Oscar Otte 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 to make the fourth round for the first time.

Alcaraz, who hit 37 winners in total, goes on to face Italian 10th seed Jannik Sinner, who put out John Isner in straight sets.

The only consolation for Isner was passing Ivo Karlovic as the sport's greatest hitter of aces, taking his career total to 13,748.

British ninth seed Cameron Norrie also qualified for the last 16 with a thumping 6-4, 6-1, 6-0 win over Steve Johnson.

Women's seeds tumble

Greek fifth seed Sakkari lost 6-3, 7-5 to German world number 103 Tatjana Maria, who only returned to the tour last year after maternity leave.

Maria, in the fourth round of a Slam for the first time, will face former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko for a place in the quarter-finals.

"It feels amazing, first time in the last 16, so that's amazing. To win against Sakkari today, it's pretty awesome," said mother-of-two Maria.

Ostapenko, a semi-finalist at the All England Club in 2018, took her winners count to 102 over three rounds by defeating Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Germany's Jule Niemeier followed up her win over second seed Anette Kontaveit by seeing off Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko in three sets.

Also exiting Friday was 2018 champion Angelique Kerber, with the German 15th seed beaten 6-4, 7-5 by Elise Mertens.

The Belgian, who had to save two match points in her previous round, next faces world number two Ons Jabeur.

A quarter-finalist in 2021, Tunisia's Jabeur breezed past French teenager Diane Parry 6-2, 6-3.

John Isner set a new record for serving aces in his third-round clash against Jannik Sinner.

The 37-year-old American started his match against the 10th seed four aces behind Croatia's Ivo Karlovic, who has served 13,728.

Isner broke the record in the third game with his fifth ace.

Isner, who stands six feet 10 inches (208 centimetres) tall, is also in the record books for taking part in the longest match in history in 2010, against Nicolas Mahut.

A plaque was unveiled outside Court 18 at Wimbledon to commemorate that contest, which lasted 11 hours and five minutes.

"Give him another plaque," US tennis great John McEnroe said on ESPN.

At the other end of the age scale, Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz later Friday targets the last 16 for the first time when he faces Germany's Oscar Otte.

Alcaraz needed five sets to see off Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round before sweeping past Tallon Griekspoor.

"I need more hours on court, on grass, to feel more comfortable," said the 19-year-old.

Otte should be the fresher of the two.

He has dropped just five games in two rounds, helped by second-round opponent Christian Harrison retiring after just 15 minutes.

Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul kept up American momentum at Wimbledon by reaching the last 16.

In all, eight American men had already reached the third round, the most at Wimbledon since 1995.

Wimbledon results on Friday on the fifth day of the 2022 championships at the All England Club (x denotes seeded player):

Men

2nd rd

Jack Sock (USA) bt Maxime Cressy (USA) 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7/1)

Jason Kubler (AUS) bt Dennis Novak (AUT) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

3rd rd

Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB x25) 6-0, 6-3, 6-4

Tim van Rijthoven (NED) bt Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO x22) 6-4, 6-3, 6-4

Jannik Sinner (ITA x10) bt John Isner (USA x20) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3

Carlos Alcaraz (ESP x5) bt Oscar Otte (GER x32) 6-3, 6-1, 6-2

David Goffin (BEL) bt Ugo Humbert (FRA) 4-6, 7-5, 6-2, 7-5

Frances Tiafoe (USA x23) bt Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 3-6, 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (7/3), 6-4

Cameron Norrie (GBR x9) bt Steve Johnson (USA) 6-4, 6-1, 6-0

Tommy Paul (USA x30) bt Jiri Vesely (CZE) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2

Women

3rd rd

Marie Bouzkova (CZE) bt Alison Riske-Amritraj (USA x28) 6-2, 6-3

Caroline Garcia (FRA) bt Zhang Shuai (CHN x33) 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/5)

Elise Mertens (BEL x24) bt Angelique Kerber (GER x15) 6-4, 7-5

Ons Jabeur (TUN x3) bt Diane Parry (FRA) 6-2, 6-3

Tatjana Maria (GER) bt Maria Sakkari (GRE x5) 6-3, 7-5

Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x12) bt Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM) 3-6, 6-1, 6-1

Heather Watson (GBR) bt Kaja Juvan (SLO) 7-6 (8/6), 6-2

Jule Niemeier (GER) bt Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

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