Novak Djokovic grabbed a two-set lead in his fourth round match against Hubert Hurkacz but only after withstanding a ferocious barrage of aces from the Pole before play was suspended at Wimbledon on Sunday.
The Serbian, bidding for a fifth successive Wimbledon title and eighth in all, edged two absorbing sets on tiebreaks to lead 7-6(6), 7-6(6) and will surely finish the job on Monday.
Hurkacz rocketed down 23 aces including one clocked at 141mph -- the fastest serve of the tournament so far.
Djokovic will sleep a lot easier than he might have done if the 17th seed Hurkacz had taken the opening set after two aces saw him to 6-3 in the tiebreak.
But the pressure of trying to put Djokovic away was too much. Djokovic won both his points on serve to close the gap and then returned a Hurkacz howitzer and the Pole could only roll a forehand into the net.
Another forehand out over the baseline allowed Djokovic to bag the opening set.
With the clock ticking towards Wimbledon’s 11pm curfew, Djokovic hunted the break of serve in the second set that might have cracked Hurkacz’s resistance but every time he had a sniff of a break an ace flew past him.
Hurkacz found himself 0-40 down at 3-4 but cracked down a couple of aces on the way back to deuce only to waft a volley out to give the second seed another chance.
This time Hurkacz’s spinning volley crept over and Djokovic almost fell over the net as he missed the put-away.
Another tiebreak arrived and Hurkacz won a stunning baseline rally to save a set point but two points later he sent a forehand out to hand Djokovic a two-set lead.
With no chance of finishing another set, the players headed off to the locker room.
The winner will face Russian seventh seed Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals.
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