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Novak Djokovic advances to fourth round at Wimbledon; John Isner marks the ace of his career

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Defending champion Novak Djokovic advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon on Friday with a 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Miomir Kecmanovic on Center Court, while John Isner became the king of aces in the ATPTour.

Djokovic, a six-time Wimbledon champion, has won the last three men’s singles titles at the All England Club in London, a 24-match winning streak that began after a 2017 quarterfinal loss.

The top-seeded Serbian player will next face Tim van Rijthoven of the Netherlands.

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“Before the tournament started, it was a dream of mine to play him, basically. So to be able to have that opportunity, and maybe even play on Center Court or Court 1, it’s beautiful and magical,” van Rijthoven said after overcome. No. 22 Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 on the 1,736-seat Court 12 to become the first wild-card entry since 2015 to reach the round of 16 at Wimbledon.

“I go into every match thinking I can win the match,” added van Rijthoven, whose baseline-based style eliminated No. 15 Reilly Opelka earlier in the week. “Also, against Djokovic, I will go into that match thinking that I can win that match.”

Until June, the backwards-cap van Rijthoven had never won a match on the ATP Tour. Since then, he hasn’t lost one, going 8-0, including a win over current No. 1 Daniil Medvedev to claim the trophy at a grass-court event in the Netherlands.

“It’s been a long time. I had my ups and downs, injuries here and there. I also struggled mentally,” said van Rijthoven, whose health problems included wrist surgery, a procedure on a vein in his right arm due to thrombosis and nine months healing. of the “golfer’s elbow” that he noticed with a smile that caused him to play tennis. “I’m happy to be where I am now. I hope to be there for another couple of years, or many more years, really.”

If he is unknown to most, he is not unknown to Djokovic. That’s partly because Djokovic is a friend of van Rijthoven’s coach Igor Sijsling. And partly because he’s been keeping an eye on the guy.

Then Djokovic offered a little scouting report.

“His game, from what I’ve seen, is quite suitable for this surface,” Djokovic said. “His big serve, one-handed backhand, uses the cut well. He’s a complete player. He can play fast. He can also stay in the rally and get to the net. I’m sure he’s excited to play on a big stage. No he has a lot to lose. He’s on the run of his dreams. He’s a young player just starting out, so I’m sure his career will be very good.”

Isner, the 6-foot-10 American, hit Ace No. 13,729 during his third-round match on Friday to break the ATP Tour record held by Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic. Isner set the record during game three against Jannik Sinner on Court No. 2.

The ATP said that is the most since the tour began recording aces in 1991.

Isner hit 24 aces to take his tally to 13,748, but lost 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-3 to 10th-seeded Sinner.

Meanwhile, countrymen Jack Sock, Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe advanced on Friday. Sock became the eighth American to reach the third round at Wimbledon with a 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(1) win over compatriot Maxime Cressy, while Tiafoe reached the fourth round. at Wimbledon for the first time. time with a 3-6, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory over Alexander Bublik. Paul defeated Jiri Vesely 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

The eight American men represented a quarter of the 32 players in the third round, the most for the United States at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament since 1995. It is also the most at any major since the 1996 US Open.

Tiafoe touted the American contingent as “damn good” in addressing success.

“We are playing great tennis,” Tiafoe said. “I think we always feed off each other. We all believe that, we all believe that we can be even better than we’re currently doing. One guy does well, the next guy wants to step up.”

Sock, 29, is a three-time Grand Slam doubles champion, two of those titles at Wimbledon. Next, he will face fellow qualifier Jason Kubler of Australia.

Tiafoe, seeded 23, will now face David Goffin, who defeated Ugo Humbert 4-6, 7-5, 6-2, 7-5, for a shot at the quarterfinals. The 24-year-old Tiafoe’s best performance at a Grand Slam tournament was reaching the quarterfinals at the 2019 Australian Open.

No. 5 Carlos Alcaraz also advanced with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 victory over No. 32 Oscar Otte and will now face Sinner. No. 9 Cameron Norrie advanced with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-0 victory over Steve Johnson.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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