Novak Djokovic continued his quest for a fourth successive Wimbledon crown with a ruthless victory over fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic, sailing through to the last 16 with a 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 win.
It was a bruising afternoon on Centre Court for Kecmanovic, who is no stranger to Djokovic, with the duo having trained together in their homeland, although the youngster had no luck in cracking his compatriot’s imperious service game and was bagelled in the opening 24 minutes.
“I know Kecmanovic's game pretty well,” said Djokovic, who earned his 24th consecutive grass-court win to equal Rod Laver's streak in third place on the Open Era list. “We train a lot. We never faced each other on grass. Obviously it's not his preferred surface for his game. I had the right game plan and I knew what I needed to do.”
It wasn’t that Kecmanovic played badly – his fellow countryman was simply too good. The 22-year-old displayed more resolve as the match wore on, showing glimpses of a player who has reached the quarter-finals at Indian Wells and Miami this year, as well as the fourth round of the Australian Open.
With a 13-year age gap between the two Serbs, there was a yawning gulf in class which Kecmanovic, for all the positive energy he displayed during a spirited second set, never looked like bridging.
After one hour and 41 minutes on court, the fortunes finally turned for Kecmanovic as he capitalised on a rare ragged service game from the 20-time major winner to earn a break of his own and receive the biggest cheer of the afternoon.
But Djokovic duly closed out his 330th Grand Slam match in style to set up a round four clash with Dutch wildcard Tim van Rijthoven, who has enjoyed a meteoric rise on the grass court scene having been ranked outside the top 200 three weeks ago. He has also become an unlikely Wimbledon favourite, with a familiar cry of 'Come on Tim' reverberating around Court 12.
“Generally on the grass-court season he still hasn't lost a match,” said Djokovic. “It's quite impressive for somebody that hasn't been ranked that high, hasn't won an ATP match before. I've watched him play these last few weeks. I'll do my analysis of him, and hopefully I can start off the way I did in these last few matches.”
Wimbledon day five, as it happened:
A bit of controversy with tomorrow's order of play
After her thrilling win over Karolina Pliskova on Centre Court, Katie Boulter is rewarded with... Court 2 for her third round match v Harmony Tan. https://t.co/zvKyT9SHvV
— Molly McElwee (@molly_mcelwee) July 1, 2022
I thought I started off really well and strong with a lot of good intensity and focus. I know Miomir quite well, we train a lot together in Serbia. I wish him all the best, hopefully we can get to play many more times on Centre Court in the biggest tournaments.
On winning his 330th Grand Slam match:
It means that I’ve been playing for quite a few years, which I’m very grateful for. I’m very blessed to be in a position to compete at the highest level and secure more wins in a Grand Slam. I’m very proud of my consistency at this level.
I think I’ve been playing better and better as the tournament progresses. That’s something you always want as a player, you want to raise the level of tennis up a notch and I think that’s what’s happening at the moment. I can always do better, but I think so far, so good and I’m looking forward to the next challenge.
Djokovic* 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 Kecmanovic (*denotes next server)
Djokovic will try and serve for the match again, this time at the Royal Box end.
Kecmanovic opens the game with a lovely backhand winner up the line, 0-15. Sliced Kecmanovic backhand just drifts long, 15-15. Kecmanovic scoops a forehand into the tramlines after being dragged wide.
Kecmanovic return long, two match points. GAME SET MATCH DJOKOVIC. For the last time, Kecmanovic puts a return long and it is all over on Centre Court.
Latest update from Centre Court via Fiona Tomas
The crowd has gone a bit flat on Centre Court as Djokovic readies himself to close out this match. It’s been totally one-way traffic but Kecmanovic has showed greater resolve as the match has worn on.
The six-time Wimbledon winner almost jumps out of his chair and makes his way towards the baseline, raising his leg up and down as if to stretch out his hamstring a bit. It’s fair to say he’s performed a few splits this afternoon but he seems to be moving pretty well.
Djokovic* 6-0, 6-3, 5-4 Kecmanovic (*denotes next server)
Kecmanovic double fault, 0-30. Wild Djokovic forehand goes long, 30-30. Deep Kecmanovic backhand and Djokovic nets.
Another Djokovic forehand error and Kecmanovic holds to give himself a lifeline.
Djokovic 6-0, 6-3, 5-3 Kecmanovic* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic has been playing like a man who has a 7pm dinner reservation. He races to 30-0 but is pegged back by Kecmanovic to 30-30.
Djokovic backhand into the net, break point Kecmanovic. And he does break when Djokovic nets a forehand.
That's the first break of the match for Kecmanovic and the fans are very happy. Djokovic looks bemused.
Djokovic* 6-0, 6-3, 5-2 Kecmanovic (*denotes next server)
Kecmanovic gets a short ball but loses his composure as he nets a tame drop shot, 0-30. Kecmanovic backhand into the net, three break points.
Kecmanovic saves the first. And the second when Djokovic nets a backhand. But not the third as he puts a forehand just beyond the baseline.
A fair bit of grumbling from the crowd.
Djokovic 6-0, 6-3, 4-2 Kecmanovic* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic holds to love in about a minute. It has been all too easy for the 20-time grand slam champion.
Djokovic* 6-0, 6-3, 3-2 Kecmanovic (*denotes next server)
A bit of a gift service hold for Kecmanovic as Djokovic swings wildly at his shots.
🚀 x 13,729
John Isner has hit the most aces in tennis history! pic.twitter.com/fRNaGGnqns
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) July 1, 2022
Djokovic 6-0, 6-3, 3-1 Kecmanovic* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic is toying with his man and making this look very easy. The pair have practised a lot together in the past and Djokovic just seems to know everything Kecmanovic is going to do.
Another game on the scoreboard.
Djokovic* 6-0, 6-3, 2-1 Kecmanovic (*denotes next server)
Djokovic catches the baseline with a frankly ridiculous backhand winner down the line, 0-30.
Kecmanovic backhand wide, two break points. More exceptional defense by Djokovic. He then hits a lovely drop shot that Kecmanovic reaches but Djokovic lobs him to break serve again.
Djokovic 6-0, 6-3, 1-1 Kecmanovic* (*denotes next server)
A third ace from Djokovic makes it 40-15. And he holds when Kecmanovic's forehand return goes wide.
Third Set: Djokovic* 6-0, 6-3, 0-1 Kecmanovic (*denotes next server)
No let up from Djokovic at the start of the third set as he takes Kecmanovic to deuce. Break point Djokovic when Kecmanovic nets a forehand after a gruelling rally.
Kecmanovic pushes Djokovic wide with a forehand and gains the error, deuce.
A bird on the court holds play before being chased away by a ball kid. Kecmanovic then holds with a timely first serve.
— Fiona Tomas (@fi_tomas_) July 1, 2022
Djokovic 6-0, 6-3 Kecmanovic* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic races to 40-0. Overhead winner by Djokovic to seal the set.
Djokovic is 71-0 when he's won the first set and he is well on his way to the fourth round.
Djokovic* 6-0, 5-3 Kecmanovic (*denotes next server)
Kecmanovic steps in and hits a lovely inside-out forehand winner, Kecmanovic didn't even move, 15-15.
Delicate touch by Kecmanovic to place an angled volley winner, 30-15. Stunning anticipation and defense by Djokovic. He lifts up a lob and Kecmanovic hits his backhand smash over, break point.
For the second time in the match, Djokovic slips however Kecmanovic puts his approach long. Djokovic breaks.
Djokovic 6-0, 4-3 Kecmanovic* (*denotes next server)
Another routine service hold for Djokovic. He's yet to be broken in this match, saving all three break points he's faced.
19 winners and just 12 unforced errors from Djokovic.
Latest update from Centre Court via Fiona Tomas
So far it’s been a bruising experience out on Centre for Miomir Kecmanovic. The crowd is doing its best to lift the young 22-year-old Serb, who’s come up against a fired-up and faultless Djokovic.
No doubt this will be a huge learning curve for the youngster and it’s heartening to see him get his name on the board in this second set.
Djokovic looks like a man on a mission. He’s outfoxing his compatriot in every area of the court and there’s no stopping him.
Djokovic* 6-0, 3-3 Kecmanovic (*denotes next server)
Forehand from Kecmanovic flies long, 15-30. Cat and mouse tennis at the net between the two players but Kecmanovic wins it when Djokovic's backhand goes wide.
Break point Djokovic when Kecmanovic misjudges a backhand slice. A huge gust of wind deceives Djokovic and he slices a forehand long, deuce.
Kecmanovic forehand into the net, second break point. Kecmanovic goes on the attack and Djokovic's backhand flies long, deuce.
A gutsy hold from Kecmanovic is secured when Djokovic nets a backhand volley.
Djokovic 6-0, 3-2 Kecmanovic* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic holds to love. He's made just 53 per cent of first serves today but when it goes in he's won 83 per cent of points.
He's also won 63 per cent of points on his second serve.
Second Set: Novak Djokovic* 6-0, 2-2 Miomir Kecmanovic (*denotes next server)
We join this match in the second set with Djokovic having romped through the opener in 24 minutes.
Kecmanovic holds in this service game to keep him with Djokovic but he has a long way back.
After the drama on Court 1...
... we move to Centre Court where Novak Djokovic is currently steaming past his compatriot and friend Miomir Kecmanovic.
Tiafoe stays focused to reach last-16
American 23rd seed Frances Tiafoe kept his focus in the face of an Alexander Bublik circus act on Friday to reach the Wimbledon fourth round for the first time.
The 24-year-old punched the air with delight as a Bublik double-fault sealed a 3-6, 7-6(1), 7-6(3), 6-4 victory in front of an enthralled audience on Court Two.
At 3-0 down in the fourth ser, Bublik delivered virtually every first serve under arm in the following game and when most of them failed to land in the box he followed up with 130mph second serves.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 1, 2022
Jabeur cruises into the fourth round
Third seed Ons Jabeur once again raced through her latest match at Wimbledon to book a place in the last 16.
A 6-2, 6-3 win over Diane Parry in 68 minutes was the longest amount of time the Tunisian had spent on court at the All England Club this summer but still means she has only played just over three hours in SW19 so far.
Jabeur was in superb touch against her French opponent and showed her full repertoire of tricks on Centre Court with several trademark drop shots able to help her ease to victory.
Watson's 12-year wait
42 grand slams have come and gone for Watson without her reaching the last 16.
But on the 43rd attempt she's done it and will now play Jule Niemeier of Germany on Sunday for a place in the quarter-finals.
Heather Watson reaction from Court 1 by Fiona Tomas
You could really see the relief in Watson's face as she nudged that winner over the net. She crouched down for a few seconds on the turf, trying to process what had just happened before firing her wristbands into the crowd and turned to her box, clenching her fist.
It’s hard to believe this was her fifth consecutive day playing on the courts at SW19 after her previous two matches were hampered by rain delays. The 30-year-old moaned that the late scheduling was “killing her” and had even resorted to watching Love Island after being too caffeinated to stay awake after her second-round match against China's Qiang Wang on Wednesday night.
Now she’s made it through to the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time in her career. All good things come to those who wait.
Heather Watson wins reaction via Molly McElwee
Heather Watson being the first Brit through to the last-16 at Wimbledon wouldn't haven been most people's prediction! What a great moment - her career-best result at a major 🎾 https://t.co/RDMX8qXcvG
— Molly McElwee (@molly_mcelwee) July 1, 2022
Firstly it wouldn't be me if there wasn’t a bit of drama at the end. What an atmosphere. There is nowhere I would rather be than here. You guys are what got me over the line at the end.
I felt like she was playing her best tennis at the end. I actually wasn’t that nervous. First time in the 4th round, I’m so happy. Thank you to my team for pushing me through. I don’t know what to say, I’m kind of speechless.
Delight for Heather
Watson reaches the fourth round of a major for the first time
Watson served for it twice and saved several break points at 5-2 but she finally got it done.
GAME SET MATCH WATSON
SHE'S DONE IT!!!!
Latest update from Court 1 via Fiona Tomas
Watson is so close! She has to maintain her composure. She's allowed Juvan to capitalise on a couple of errors there.
She’s moving around the court well and is striking the ball confidently and looks like a shadow of the player who was continuously splaying the ball beyond the baseline in the first set.
It’s surely hers to lose now…as she serves for the match.
Jack Sock finally completes his delayed second round match over compatriot Maxime Cressy, winning 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6.
Elsewhere, Frances Tiafoe completed the comeback against Alexander Bublik to win 3-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4.
And Jule Niemeier of Germany, who had never won a main draw match before Wimbledon is into the fourth round after a three-set battle with Lesia Tsurenko.
Juvan gets one game back
Watson saves a couple of break points but eventually Juvan gets the break to reduce the deficit.
Understandable that there are a few nerves from the Briton
Juvan's game has completely fallen apart and Watson now leads 5-0 and is a game away from the fourth round.
Latest update from Court 1 via Fiona Tomas
Amid the champagne corks popping around Court No 1 you can hear the cries of ‘Come on Heather!’ The Channel Islander is certainly feeding off the energy from the crowd, having started this second set with a bang.
In the corner of the court above the scoreboard, Michelle Watson, Heather’s mother, is watching on, occasionally jumping out of her seat to cheer on her daughter.
That double fault from Juvan at the end of the tiebreak has really taken the sting out of the Slovenian’s game. She just can’t find her mojo at the moment.
Watson putting on a show
Watson is on a roll right now. She has broken Juvan twice already in the second set to lead 7-6, 3-0.
Anne Keothavong is sitting not too far away from me. I can spot her eating Haribos and clearly enjoying her Fed Cup player's performance so far.
Latest update from Centre Court via Molly McElwee
I'm on Centre Court for world No 2 Ons Jabeur's match against 19-year-old Diane Parry.
Jabeur was one point away from 'bagelling' her in the first set, but Parry managed to get her name on the board - much to the crowd's delight. Currently at 5-2, and Jabeur will have the opportunity to serve for the set once more.
Nobody wants to the rain to derail Watson's momentum
Everyone praying this rain cloud will stay away over Court No 1 after Watson takes the first set against Kaja Juvan. Poor Heather hasn't had much luck with weather delays this week.. ☔ #Wimbledon2022 pic.twitter.com/yCmcU3td6o
— Fiona Tomas (@fi_tomas_) July 1, 2022
First set Watson
Despite the setback of dropping those set points, Watson keeps her nerve and wins the opening set when Juvan double faults.
Huge cheers and a fist pump from Watson to celebrate.
Two set points squandered by Watson
Brilliant tennis by Watson to lead 6-4 in the tiebreak but she can't get over the line.
It is 6-6 at the change of ends.
Into a tiebreak
Watson slips chasing a short ball by Juvan. She takes a little while to get back on her feet but she's OK and able to continue.
An evenly fought set enters a tiebreak to decide it...
Emma Raducanu hanging out with a fan
And, as stimulating as the #FutureofBritain event was today, personal high point was going on the hunt for some diet coke and running into @EmmaRaducanu in a different bit of the hotel. As lovely and gracious in person, as you would expect. pic.twitter.com/ECJQSGa6mN
— Ruth Davidson (@RuthDavidsonPC) June 30, 2022
Watson fights back
Great effort by Watson, who was broken to fall 4-2 down, to break straight back and win three games in a row.
A huge roar from the No 1 Court crowd as she held for 5-4. Can she break again for the set?
Elsewhere, Francis Tiafoe is a set away from the fourth round. He's won sets two and three in tiebreaks over Alexander Bublik.
While on Court 3, Maxime Cressy is fighting back in the all-American tie with Jack Sock. Sock leads 6-4, 6-4, 3-6.
Missed opportunity for Watson
Watson earns herself an early break point on the Juvan serve but can't take the chance, netting a forehand.
But she holds to lead 3-2 in the opening stages. Plenty of empty seats here strangely as you can see in the picture below.
Classy touch by Grealish
🤣🤣🙌🏻🙌🏻 what a guy! Can’t wait for tomorrow!! You got all our support bro!! Cammmmmm on sannnn 💙🎾 https://t.co/jguctFP43e
— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish) July 1, 2022
I'm in position...
... can Watson reach the fourth round of Wimbledon for the first time?
Let's find out!
... I'm on the move to Court 1 for Heather Watson!
Putting Van Rijthoven's achievement into context
Van Rijthoven is also the 7th man to reach the round of 16 on his Grand Slam debut since 2000, after...
Lee (2000 US Open)
Goffin (2012 Roland Garros)
Londero (2019 Roland Garros)
Altmaier (2020 Roland Garros)
Karatsev (2021 Australian Open)
Musetti (2021 Roland Garros)
— ITF Media (@ITFMedia) July 1, 2022
Tim Van Rijthoven wins!
Incredible result on Court 12 as Van Rijthoven beats 22nd seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
Eight victories in a row now for the wildcard and he will play Djokovic or Kecmanovic next.
Game, set and match
That's a wrap for 12th seed Jelena Ostapenko as she bounces back from losing the opening set to swat aside Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3, 1-6, 1-6.
Fifth seed Maria Sakkari or Tatjana Maria of Germany awaits next for the 2018 Wimbledon semi-finalist.
'We have not heard the last of Jack Draper' - analysis by Jim White
Jack Draper is reckoned by many the finest prospect in British tennis. But we will not be seeing any more of him in the Wimbledon singles. The tall, powerful left hander, who can hit a ball with sledgehammer insistence, was beaten in the second round by 19th seed Alex De Minaur, otherwise known as Mr Katie Boulter.
Looking as if he had just completed ten rounds with Tyson Fury after his ferocious four-set thrashathon on court number one, Draper was refreshingly honest about how much he reckoned he still had to learn.
“There's a lot of things I need to improve and keep working, developing,” he said. “I think my forehand needs a lot of work. But I think the main thing is the physicality. Grand Slam tennis is completely different. This is one of my first experiences. Also playing against a guy who is known for being unbelievably resilient. It's a really good challenge for me. I think I do need these types of lessons to really grow. I think hopefully as I get more experiences like these, it's going to help me in the future to push on in these types of tournaments.”
Not that he will spend much time analysing his performance against De Minaur. He insisted he already knew what was missing from his game.
“I will watch a bit back. I won't watch it all,” he said. “I'll speak to my coach. Even now, I know loads of things that need to get better in order for me to become a better player. There’s a few things in my head right now.”
His immediate plans involve a break from the game, to recharge after nearly six months of non-stop competition. Then he will head to the American hard-court circuit to prepare for the US Open.
“It will just be another opportunity to try and prove myself and see where I'm at,” he said of September’s championship in Flushing Meadows. “That's the thing, I just got to keep on improving, keep learning. I think I have the mentality to do that. I want to be a top player so…”
Given his determination to improve - and at pace - it might be worth sticking a wager on him going deep into the tournament this time next year. One thing is for sure: we have not heard the last of Jack Draper.
It is possible you've never heard of Tim van Rijthoven of the Netherlands.
He'd never played an ATP Tour level match until last month. But he entered the Libema Open as a wildcard and won it, beating Daniil Medvedev in the final.
And today, he is edging towards the fourth round as he completely outplays Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-3, 2-1 on Court 12.
Boulter showing support for the Lionesses
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 1, 2022
Tiafoe fights back
Tiafoe, the No 23 seed, is battling back on Court 2 against Bublik.
He leads 3-0 in the second set.
Jelena Ostapenko has dropped the opening set 6-3 to Irina-Camelia Begu on Court 3.
American Frances Tiafoe also lost the first set 6-3 to Alexander Bublik on Court 2.
Today's order of play
No rain in SW19 today so we've made a prompt 11am start.
You can check out the full schedule here.
Listen to the latest episode of the Tennis Podcast
Some wholesome content to start your day
Novak and Stefan practicing is the cutest thing ever 😭 pic.twitter.com/iioWcPS7au
— kr9pton (@kr9ptonlul) June 30, 2022
Good morning from Wimbledon
Welcome to day five coverage from Wimbledon as we edge closer to the midway point of the tournament and the number of players still in the event continues to whittle down.
It was another dramatic day on Thursday as Katie Boulter earned the biggest win of her career when she overcame Karolína Pliskova. Boulter, ranked 118th in the world, eliminated the Czech sixth seed 3-6 7-6(4) 6-4 and said in her on-court interview that her grandmother had passed away earlier this week, dedicating the victory to her.
"Her favourite tournament was Wimbledon," Boulter told reporters. "That's why it's a special one for me. She'd watch every single match that was on the TV. It's been a tough few days for sure. I've tried to kind of get my emotions out and deal with the situation, try and keep my head on the tennis.
"I was lucky because my grandpa managed to come down from Leicester, and so we could keep him company and keep supporting him at the same time."
Boulter, who has reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time, will next face Frenchwoman Harmony Tan. Elsewhere, Rafael Nadal and Coco Gauff booked their places in round three and look primed for deep runs into the tournament.
Today, the focus will switch back to world No 1 Novak Djokovic, who is up against his Serbian compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic. Britain's Heather Watson opens play on Centre Court in a winnable match against Kaja Juvan on No 1 Court.
"I'm pretty relaxed about it right now," said Watson. "I've been here before. I'm just taking it step by step, match by match. "I feel, as I've gotten older, I've been on the tour many years now, my highs aren't as high, but my lows aren't as low."