Defending champion Novak Djokovic went level with Boris Becker’s mark of 12 appearances in the Wimbledon fourth round yesterday as 15-year-old sensation Cori Gauff saved two match points to continue her magical debut at the All England Club.
Teen sensation Gauff showed remarkable resilience in saving two match points to reach the fourth round of Wimbledon, beating Polona Hercog 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-5 yesterday.
The 15-year-old, who had already claimed the scalps of Venus Williams and 2017 semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova, was not as assured as in her previous performances.
However, her 28-year-old opponent let her nerves overcome her at the most crucial moment, double faulting on her second match point in the second set.
Gauff will play former world number one Simona Halep of Romania for a place in the last eight.
World number one and four-time winner Djokovic defeated Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4.
He will next face either Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime who, at 18, is the youngest man in the draw, or Ugo Humbert of France, the world number 66.
“He was fighting. He was playing well, serving well and hitting clean and accurate shots,” said Djokovic who is now level with Becker in third place on the all-time list for last-16 places.
Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors lead the way with 16.
“It was a great fight the first couple of sets. He deserved to win the second one.”
However, Kevin Anderson, the 2018 runner-up, was dumped out, leaving just four of the top 10 seeds in the tournament.
Anderson slumped to a shock third round 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (4) defeat to Argentina’s Guido Pella, the 26th seed.
The South African’s defeat means that only Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori remain of the top 10 players who started out.
“He made life really difficult for me,” said Anderson, playing just his second tournament since March after recovering from an elbow injury.
Pella goes on to face 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic for a place in the quarter-finals.
“I played an unbelievable three sets,” said Pella, who had never gone beyond the third round of a Grand Slam tournament in seven years.
Raonic, the 15th seed, reached the fourth round for the fifth time by seeing off the sport’s tallest man Reilly Opelka of the United States 7-6 (1), 6-2, 6-1.
France’s Benoit Paire booked a last 16 place for the second time with a 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (2) win over Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely.
He will meet Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut who stunned Russian 10th seed Karen Khachanov 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 6-1.
In the women’s event, Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova reached the fourth round for the second successive year with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 win over Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan.
Pliskova, who fired 14 aces and 42 winners, will next face compatriot Karolina Muchova, the world number 68, who put out Estonian 20th seed Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (7), 6-3.
Muchova is making her Wimbledon debut as is 19-year-old Dayana Yastremska and the 35th-ranked Ukrainian marked the occasion by also making the last 16.
She put out Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic 7-5, 6-3 and next meets unseeded Chinese player Zhang Shuai.
World number 60 Zhang made the fourth round for the first time, coming back from 0-4 down in the opening set to beat former world number one Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-2.
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