2021 Wimbledon : A review of the third round matches.

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer kept alive their hopes of making history next Sunday after both registered good wins in the third round at Wimbledon. Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev also kept alive his chance for a shot at no. 1 ranking as he rallied from a two set deficit against the hapless Marin Cilic of Croatia to reach the second week at Wimbledon for the first time. There was disappointment for former Champion Andy Murray and the temperamental Aussie Nick Kyrgios who conceded his match to Felix Auger Alliasime.

The 20 time champion Federer, seeded sixth, looked headed for a straight sets win against the gritty Briton Cameron Norrie who saved two break points in the eleventh game of the third set before breaking the Federer serve to love in the next game to send the match into a fourt set. One break of serve was all the Swiss required in the first two sets, but in the fourth set there the pair exchanged service breaks at 2-2 and Federer broke again in the ninth game before serving out the match at 30 to complete a 6-4,6-4,5-7,6-4 win against the 29th seeded Norrie, ranked 34th in the world. Federer, who registered his 1,250th win on the ATP tour now goes on to play the Italian Lorenzo Sonego, finalist at Eastbourne last week who came through after a comprehensive 6-3,6-4,6-4 winner over the Australian James Duckworth. The Swiss is now only 25 wins away from breaking Jimmy Connors record of 1,275 career wins.

Earlier on Friday, the top seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia saved a set point as he overcame a 1-4 deficit in the third set and also a 1-4 deficit in the tie-break as he completed a 6-4,6-3,7-6(7) win over the American qualifier Dennis Kudla on court no. 1. Djokovic is bidding for his sixth consecutive grand slam and is the heavy favourite to tie both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s tally of 20 grand slams. He is also bidding to become the second man to complete a calendar slam in Open Era by winning all four slams in a year, the first since Rod Laver accomplished the feat in 1969. Next up is the Chilean Christian Garin, seeded Seventeen, who beat the little known Spaniard Pedro Martinez 6-4,6-3,4-6,6-4.

There was major disappointment for the home crowd, as the 2013 and 2016 champion Andy Murray crashed out of the tournament following a 4-6,2-6,2-6 defeat at the hands of the 10th seeded Denis Shapovalov of Canada. Murray trailed 1-5 in the first set but rallied and made Shapovalov save three break point chances while serving out the first set in the tenth game. Shapovalov who got a walkover in the second round against the Spaniard Pablo Andujar-Alba, now plays the Russian Karen Khachanov who had an easy 6-3,6-4,6-4 win over the American Frances Tiafoe, the conqueror of the French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas. Only one American is left in the draw after Sebastian Korda took out another Briton Dan Evans in four sets 6-3,3-6,6-3,6-4 on center court on Friday. In what is his first appearance at Wimbledon, the son of former Australian Open champion Petr Korda who represented the Czech Republic, will play next on his birthday on Monday, as he turns 21.

Shapovalov plays the only Spaniard left in the draw, the eighth seeded Roberto Bautista Agut who was a 7-5,6-1,7-6(4) winner over the German Dominik Koepfer. The fourth seeded German Alexander Zverev battled after dropping the first set to beat the 31st seeded American Taylor Fritz, as he completed a 6-7(3), 6-4,6-3,7-6(4) win to advance to the fourth round. He faces Canada’s Felix Auger Alliasime who advanced after Nick Kyrgios retired with the pair having split the first two sets. Matteo Berretini of Italy and Illya Ivashka of Belarus registered identical 6-4,6-4,6-4 wins over Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia and Jordan Thompson of Australia respectively and will next face off on Monday in the pre quarter finals. Berretini and Sonego ensured that two Italians reached the last sixteen for the first time in Open Era and only the third time in history.

Two Russians have also made it to the last sixteen after the second seeded Daniil Medvedev rallied from a two set deficit for the first time in his career to complete a 6-7(3),3-6,6-3,6-3,6-2 win over Marin Cilic of Croatia, a finalist in 2017. Cilic, who got the last seeding at 32 following the withdrawal of the Austrian Dominic Thiem squandered a golden opportunity as he faded miserably and in fact only just prevented a bagel in the final set as Medvedev dropped serve for the first time in asking at 5-0. Medvedev kept alive his hopes of becoming the top ranked men’s player should he go on to win his first grand Slam title on Sunday. He joins the fifth seeded Andrey Rublev who completed a 6-3,5-7,6-4,6-2 win over the 28th seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy. Medvedev now plays the 14th seeded Hubert Hurcacz of Poland, a straight sets winner over Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 6-3,6-4,6-2. Rublev plays the Hungarian Marton Fucsovics who took out the Argentine ninth seed Diego Schwartzman 6-3,6-3,6-7(6),6-4.

Following is the line up of the last Sixteen with my pick mentioned first:-

Novak Djokovic (1) v. Christian Garin (17)
Andrey Rublev (5) v. Marton Fucsovics (-)
Sebastian Korda (-) v. Karen Khachanov (25)
Denis Shapovalov (10) v. Roberto Bautista Agut (8)
Matteo Berretini (7) v. Illya Ivashka (-)
Alexander Zverev (4) v. Felix Auger Alliasime (16)
Roger Federer (6) v. Lorenzo Sonego (23)
Daniil Medvedev (2) v. Hubert Hurcacz (14).

– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@gmail.com]

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