Novak Djokovic comes from a set down to clinch his place in the last-16 of Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic comes from a set down to clinch his place in the last-16 of Wimbledon
By: dailymail Posted On: July 07, 2024 View: 84

  • Novak Djokovic triumphed 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 over Alexei Popyrin on Centre Court
  • No 2 seed was in action as England beat Switzerland on penalties at Euro 2024

Novak Djokovic took a penalty during the match and then the tiebreak master won tennis' equivalent of a shootout to survive into the second week of Wimbledon.

The No 2 seed was locked in a tense battle with Australia's Alexei Popyrin when, towards the end of the second set, the news filtered through the crowd that England had beaten Switzerland on penalties. 

Djokovic, ever the showman, mimicked kicking a football and Popyrin pretended to tip the shot wide of the tramlines.

'Did England win in the end?' asked Djokovic after the match. 'That's why you guys stayed! Yeah congrats. 

'Congrats to England. I tried to shoot a penalty, I'm a left-footed but Alexei defended it well.'

Novak Djokovic celebrates after reaching the last-16 at Wimbledon with victory on Saturday
The No 2 seed came from a set down to triumph 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 on Centre Court
The Serb was up against 6ft 5in Australian Alexei Popyrin, who has a perfect game for grass

All fun and games by the end but this was far from a comfortable night for the 24-time Grand Slam champion. 

Popyrin is 6ft 5in and with his big serve, slice backhand and neat volleys has a perfect game for grass. 

He took the first set and was competitive throughout but Djokovic recovered and once the fourth set reached a tiebreak it never felt in doubt.

'One of the best tie-breaks I've played this year, that's for sure,' said Djokovic after a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win. 

'It was another tough match. I didn't expect anything less than what we experienced on the court today from Alexei. 

'I know he was going to come to the match with confidence, a lot of self-belief. With that serve and powerful forehand, he's dangerous on any surface.

'I knew he was in form and he was going to come out believing he can win. He was the better player in the first set. I think I played a good second and third and the fourth was anybody's game. He was serving very well. It was very difficult to read his serve.

'It was just a very challenging match, mentally as well to hang in there. I'm not allowed to have too big concentration lapses. I think I've done well in that regard.'

In the fourth round Djokovic will play Denmark's Holger Rune, who came from two sets to love down to beat French qualifier Quentin Halys.

Rune has beaten Djokovic twice in the past so this should be the 37-year-old Serb first serious test of the fortnight.

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