April 17, 2024 1:33 pm
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Djokovic Reaches Historic Milestone in 400th Slam Match While Swiatek Sets Sights on Wimbledon Semis

Novak Djokovic aims for record-equalling 46th major semi-final in his 400th Grand Slam match

As Djokovic prepares to face Russia’s Andrey Rublev, Iga Swiatek reaches uncharted territory

Women’s world number one battles Ukrainian star Elina Svitolina

Djokovic plays for third day in a row, chasing 8th Wimbledon title and 24th Grand Slam

Novak Djokovic, the Serbian tennis superstar, is set to compete in his 400th Grand Slam match at Wimbledon on Tuesday. He is aiming to secure a place in a record-equalling 46th major semi-final. Meanwhile, Iga Swiatek, the current women’s world number one, is venturing into uncharted territory.

Djokovic will face off against Russia’s Andrey Rublev, while Swiatek will take on Ukrainian star Elina Svitolina. Swiatek, who had never advanced beyond the fourth round before this year, finds herself in unfamiliar territory at Wimbledon. Svitolina, on the other hand, is riding a wave of emotional good will at the tournament.

Djokovic, who is vying for an eighth Wimbledon title and his 24th Grand Slam, will be playing for the third consecutive day. The 36-year-old has a commanding 3-1 winning record against Rublev, including a straight-sets triumph in the Australian Open quarter-finals earlier this year.

“Andrey is a fantastic player who’s got one of the best forehands in the game. Brings a lot of intensity to the court with his grunts. He kind of scares off his opponents across the net! Extremely nice guy,”

said Djokovic about Rublev.

Rublev is one of four Russian and Belarusian players to reach the quarter-finals, consisting of three men and one woman. These players were banned from last year’s tournament following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as Belarus is a key ally of Moscow. Rublev required five sets to overcome Russian-born Kazakh Alexander Bublik in the round of 16. This will be his first appearance in the Wimbledon quarter-finals and his eighth at a major, but he has never made it to a semi-final.

“Novak is one of the best players on grass. Nothing else to say,”

said Rublev of his upcoming match against Djokovic.

The winner of Djokovic and Rublev’s quarter-final will go on to face either eighth-seeded Jannik Sinner or world number 92 Roman Safiullin of Russia. Sinner, who reached the same stage last year before losing to Djokovic from a two-set lead, possesses a slender frame but packs a powerful punch. He recently launched the third-fastest serve of the tournament so far, clocking in at 139 mph (223.7 km/h). While Sinner is participating in his fifth quarter-final at a major, Safiullin will be experiencing this stage for the first time.

In the women’s quarter-finals, Iga Swiatek, who saved two match points to defeat Belinda Bencic in the previous round, faces off against crowd favourite Elina Svitolina. Svitolina has reached the last-eight for the second consecutive Slam after returning from maternity leave in April. Her thrilling three-set victory over former world number one Victoria Azarenka in the round of 16 was met with boos from the spectators, as some were unaware of Svitolina’s policy of refusing to shake hands with players from Belarus and Russia in protest of the war.

Svitolina, in tears during an on-court TV interview after her win over Azarenka, described it as a triumph for Ukraine. Swiatek, who wears a ribbon in the colors of Ukraine on her cap and has been vocal in her support for the country, appreciates having players like Svitolina on the tour, mentioning their good values. The two players have met only once before, with Swiatek emerging as the winner in straight sets on clay in Rome two years ago.

The other women’s quarter-final features US fourth-ranked Jessica Pegula against unseeded Marketa Vondrousova, a former French Open runner-up now ranked 42nd in the world. Pegula is appearing in her sixth quarter-final at a Grand Slam but has yet to advance to the semi-finals.

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