Novak Djokovic had his toughest match of Wimbledon 2023 against Hubert Hurkacz but survives and moves on to the quarterfinals. In fact, one could rightfully wonder if Djokovic will have a harder match than the one Hurkacz gave him. Djokovic won 7-6(6) 7-6(6) 5-7 6-4.
In the victory, Djokovic was able to do something no one has done in a very long time and that is break Hurkacz and his serve. That only happened once but it came in the fourth set and was all Djoko needed to get the win. But prior to that, Hurkacz was dominant with his serve.
And this match could have gone completely differently. Before the game was suspended on Sunday because of hour curfew, Djokovic had won the first two sets by winning the tie-breaks. But in the first set, he trailed in the tie-break 3-6 before Hurkacz made a couple of mistakes and Djoko won the final five points to take the set. We might still be playing if Hurkacz had taken the first set.
Novak Djokovic into quarters at Wimbledon
Djokovic is normally one of the best returners to ever play, but Hurkacz finished with 33 aces against just 4 double-faults. He won an astounding 86 of his 106 first-serve points against arguably the greatest player ever. But if he didn’t get his first serve in, there was trouble. Djokovic took 17 of the 36 second-serve points Hurkacz had.
Djoko’s serve is a bit underrated, though. While he doesn’t have Hurkacz’s immense power, Djokovic has pint-point accuracy most of the time. He ended up with 18 aces of his own. He also won 20 of his 33 second-serve opportunities and had an even better percentage on his first-serve than Hurkacz as Djoko won 77 of his 87 first-serve points.
Djokovic will now play in the quarterfinals against seventh-seeded Andrey Rublev. Rublev defeated Alexander Bublik and his huge serve in five sets on Sunday. Rublev doesn’t have the serve that Hurkacz has, and he trails the all-time head-to-head versus Djokovic 1-3, but he has a well-rounded game that could give the number-seed seed issues.