Djokovic Edges Stepanek To Record 40th Match Win At Wimbledon
Wimbledon, Great Britain
by ATP Staff|
The top seed and 2011 champion beat 35-year-old Stepanek 6-4, 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-6(5) on Centre Court for his 40th match win at Wimbledon. He will next face Gilles Simon, a 7-6(1), 6-4, 6-4 winner over Robin Haase.
"[Stepanek] has great touch, great talent at the net. He covered my passing shots very well," said Djokovic after the match.
The World No. 2 led 5-2 in the third set tie-break, but Stepanek battled back to clinch the 67-minute set. Stepanek rallied from 2-5 in the fourth set tie-break, but he hit a forehand volley into the net at 5-5 to gift Djokovic his first match point. Djokovic struck his 11th forehand winner to end the three-hour, 17-minute encounter.
"Credit to [Stepanek] for fighting in the third. I thought I could have finished the match in three sets," said Djokovic.
"But I didn't come out with my first serve when I needed to in the tie-breaker, and he came back. He fought. It was a very close, very even fourth set. It could have gone either way," Djokovic added.
"I'm just happy to have spent this amount of time on the court, to play a lot of rallies, to return and to serve. Physically I feel fine. This can just help me mentally for the [remainder] of the event."
Djokovic is attempting to capture his seventh Grand Slam championship this week. This season, he has lifted three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies at the BNP Paribas Open (d. Federer), Sony Open Tennis and the Internazionali BNL d'Italia (d. Nadal both times).
Stepanek's best result at a Grand Slam came at Wimbledon in 2006, when he lost to Jonas Bjorkman in the quarter-finals.
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