Swiatek crashes out but Djokovic still in hunt for eighth Wimbledon title

Top seed Iga Swiatek was eliminated from Wimbledon in the most surprising upset of this year’s Championships so far, but Novak Djokovic managed to avoid a similar fate despite another subpar performance on Saturday. Poland’s Swiatek, fresh off her fifth Grand Slam title at last month’s French Open, was defeated 3-6 6-1 6-2 by Yulia Putintseva in the third round, struggling once more on the grass surface.

“I understand what needs to be adjusted, and I will work on that,” the world number one stated to reporters after her 21-match winning streak was halted on Court One. “My drive to push myself to the extreme suddenly vanished. It caught me off guard.”

Seven-time champion Djokovic advanced to the fourth round but only after losing the first set to Alexei Popyrin. The 37-year-old Serbian, seeded second, remained on track for a record 25th Grand Slam title with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6(3) victory, setting up a meeting with Danish star Holger Rune.

“It was another difficult match,” Djokovic said on court, having also dropped a set against British wildcard Jacob Fearnley in the second round. “Today was very challenging mentally.”

“Every match is improving,” remarked Djokovic, who hasn’t claimed a title this year and underwent knee surgery last month.

Britain is now down to just one singles player from the original 19 entrants, as Alexander Zverev defeated Cameron Norrie and China’s Wang Xinyu ousted local favourite Harriet Dart.

Emma Raducanu will be the sole representative for the hosts on Sunday. Perhaps with this in mind, she withdrew from her much-anticipated mixed doubles match with Andy Murray.

Her decision, attributed to protecting a sore wrist, effectively brought an anti-climactic end to British great Murray’s illustrious Wimbledon career.

U.S. Success

Despite perceptions that Swiatek and her topspin style are still not well-suited to Wimbledon’s grass courts, she arrived as the favourite to finally make her mark at the All England Club.

And when she secured the opening set against Kazakhstan’s fiery 35th-ranked Putintseva, it appeared everything was under control.

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However, once Putintseva broke serve in the fourth game of the second set, Swiatek’s performance quickly disintegrated under the relentless power of her opponent. “At some point I was playing fearlessly. I just thought, I have to believe 100%, I have nothing to lose, just go for it,” Putintseva, who faces Jelena Ostapenko next, told reporters.

The damp British summer continued to interfere with play on the sixth day of the Championships, although there were sufficient dry spells to finish the third-round singles matches. Men’s fourth seed Zverev served like a machine against Norrie for a 6-4 6-4 7-6(15) win, although he had a fright when he fell awkwardly and injured his knee in the second set.

The 27-year-old has made it to the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time and will need to defeat Taylor Fritz to advance to the quarter-finals after Fritz overcame Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo 7-6(3) 6-3 7-5. Fritz was joined in the fourth round by fellow American Ben Shelton, who won a five-set match against Denis Shapovalov to set up a meeting with top seed Jannik Sinner.

Fifth seed Daniil Medvedev quietly progressed as he defeated Jan-Lennard Struff, setting up a clash with Grigor Dimitrov.

In the women’s competition, Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, who had been the runner-up for the past two years, exited in the third round after a 6-1 7-6(4) defeat to Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina. Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina, who overcame Jabeur to secure the 2022 title, sent a strong message by demolishing former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, losing just one game. Danielle Collins also made it to the last 16 with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia. This means that seven American players – four women and three men – have progressed to the singles’ last 16, the highest number since 2004.

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