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Latest UpdatesNewsNovak Djokovic Eyes Wimbledon Semi-Final, Up Against 'Spectacular' Opponent in Quarter-Finals

Novak Djokovic Eyes Wimbledon Semi-Final, Up Against ‘Spectacular’ Opponent in Quarter-Finals

Chasing a record-equalling eighth title, Novak Djokovic is set to face 15th seed Holger Rune in the Wimbledon quarter-finals. The seven-time champion has his sights firmly set on reaching a seventh successive Wimbledon semi-final on Monday. Djokovic, pursuing his 25th Grand Slam crown, overcame Australia’s Alexei Popyrin 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) on Saturday, marking his 16th appearance in the Wimbledon fourth round.

Meanwhile, diminutive giant-killer Yulia Putintseva aims for another upset against former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, while lucky loser Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard seeks to make more Wimbledon history.

Djokovic on Song in Title Charge

Novak Djokovic has hit all the right notes in the opening rounds of his bid for Wimbledon history. However, the Serb cannot afford an off-key moment in his tricky last 16 test against the “spectacular” Holger Rune. Despite still sporting a knee support on his right leg following surgery in June, Djokovic showcased his playful side after subduing the gritty Popyrin. On Centre Court, he mimed playing a violin, a gesture aimed at his daughter, who has recently started learning the instrument.

Djokovic must stay on song against Rune, who mounted an impressive third-round comeback, prevailing over Frenchman Quentin Halys in five sets after trailing by two. “He looks to me a player that is ready for big things. He’s a spectacular player, no doubt. He’s a very tricky opponent,” Djokovic said. “When it comes to competing, obviously we both have that fire. I’m sure on Monday we’ll see a lot of fireworks on the court.”

Putintseva Set for Ostapenko Battle

After ousting world number one Iga Swiatek in the third round, Yulia Putintseva is steeled for another potentially explosive clash against Jelena Ostapenko for a place in the last eight. The world number 35 fought back to stun Swiatek 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, ending the Polish star’s 21-match winning streak on Saturday. Putintseva’s victory continued a superb grass-court season for the 29-year-old, who won the Birmingham Classic last month.

The Russia-born Kazakhstani has reached the quarter-finals of the French Open and US Open but had never been beyond the second round at Wimbledon. “Last year I won no matches on grass. I mean, entering a tournament like Wimbledon, when you have five consecutive wins on grass, it’s pretty good. You feel this surface much better,” Putintseva said.

Next, she faces the equally emotional Ostapenko after the Latvian 13th seed’s 6-1, 6-3 win over Bernarda Pera. Ostapenko won the French Open in 2017 and reached the Wimbledon semi-finals a year later but has struggled to hit those heights since then.

Aces High for Mpetshi Perricard

Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard thought his Wimbledon campaign was over two weeks ago, but the big-serving Frenchman is now within touching distance of the quarter-finals. Mpetshi Perricard, who stands a towering 2.03m (6ft 8ins), lost in the final round of qualifying to Maxime Janvier last Thursday. However, the 20-year-old was given a reprieve when he got the call to replace injured Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the main draw.

Capitalising on his unexpected opportunity, Mpetshi Perricard defeated Emil Ruusuvuori 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 on Saturday, becoming the first lucky loser to make the Wimbledon last 16 since Dick Norman in 1995. Fuelled by his mammoth serve, which has produced 105 aces so far in the tournament, Mpetshi Perricard faces Italian 25th seed Lorenzo Musetti as he aims to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final.

That would be the perfect birthday present for the rising star, who turns 21 on Monday. “I’m very proud of myself. How far can I go? I don’t know. I’m just focused on the next one,” he said.

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