Thompson units up Wimbledon date with Djokovic


Australian Jordan Thompson has booked a Wimbledon date with defending champion Novak Djokovic after producing top-of-the-line wins of his profession in opposition to higher-ranked Brandon Nakashima.

Thompson, minus his trademark beard and ‘tache’, clawed again from two units down after trying headed for an early exit barely an hour into the Championships on Monday (British time).

His comeback victory has booked a Centre Courtroom showdown with Djokovic that Thompson admits could possibly be “a dream or a nightmare”.

The Aussie battler got here from two units all the way down to beat the higher-ranked American 2-6 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.

That earned him a second spherical tilt on the 23-time grand slam winner, who he believes could also be “one of the best ever.”

Thompson has by no means performed the Serb, however did face him throughout the online when a junior on the Australian Open a couple of decade in the past.

Newly shaven, after after a barber bought carried away and Thompson determined he could as properly end the job, the often hirsute 29-year-old joked: “I hit with him after I was a child. I doubt he would bear in mind – however possibly as I’ve shaved and bought a haircut he would possibly recognise me now.”

Thompson, ranked 70 on the planet, believes he can beat the world No.2.

“I wouldn’t exit on the court docket if I didn’t suppose I may do harm. As foolish because it sounds, I’ve bought to consider that I can win in any other case there isn’t a level going on the market,” he mentioned.

“I do know the chances are firmly in opposition to me. However yeah, simply get out and luxuriate in it and simply have enjoyable. It’s not on daily basis you play Novak at Wimbledon.

“It could possibly be a dream, or could possibly be a nightmare. I’ve seen a couple of guys have nightmares on the market in opposition to him on Centre Courtroom, however hopefully that gained’t be the case for me.

“I performed Rafa [Nadal[ at the French [Open] on [main court] Philippe Chatrier (shedding 2-6 2-6 2-6 in 2022). I mentioned on the finish of the match to him, ‘it wasn’t enjoyable, but it surely was an honour’.

“Hopefully, it’s somewhat bit extra enjoyable in opposition to Novak however I’m properly conscious that it may not be.”

Thompson mentioned he’ll search recommendation from his pal and compatriot Nick Kyrgios, who misplaced in 4 units to Djokovic in final 12 months’s ultimate.

The good first-day comeback triumph swept away the Australian gloom after Kyrgios pulled out on the eve of the match with a wrist harm.

Thompson, who had been attempting to assist his compatriot get match for the match by practising with him on the All England Membership, pulled off a outstanding victory on a moist and windy opening day in London.

Coming from two units down in a grand slam for the third time in his profession, never-say-die Thompson rallied in a rain-interrupted match to a 2-6 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 win after it had seemed as if he would get swept away by the American who had given Kyrgios a scare at Wimbledon final 12 months.

It was an ideal tonic for the nine-strong Australian problem after an early however predictable setback when Max Purcell, battling courageously with a fractured proper foot, misplaced 6-3 7-5 6-4 in simply over an hour and a half to Russia’s Andrey Rublev.

Queensland qualifier Storm Hunter, one in every of solely two Australian girls in the primary draw, additionally suffered a heavy defeat, shedding 6-3 6-1 to Wang Xinyu in a repeat of their Australian Open first-round conflict, which had additionally been gained by the Chinese language world No.73.

Novak Djokovic wins in opposition to Pedro Cachin of their first spherical match. Photograph: Getty

No slip-ups on Djokovic quest

4-time defending champion and sizzling favorite Djokovic started his report quest with a straight-sets Wimbledon victory over a prepared however finally outgunned Argentine Pedro Cachin.

The Serbian, 36, is in search of a males’s record-extending twenty fourth grand slam title that might additionally draw him stage with Australia’s Margaret Courtroom, to match Roger Federer’s eight Wimbledons and equal Federer and Bjorn Borg’s report of 5 successive males’s singles crowns.

He took a convincing first step with a 6-3 6-3 7-6(4) victory the place the one time he seemed actually inconvenienced was when complaining concerning the danger of slipping on a mildly damp court docket after a bathe prompted a 70-minute delay throughout which the roof was closed and reopened.

Final time Djokovic misplaced on Centre Courtroom was within the 2013 ultimate in opposition to Andy Murray. Remarkably that was additionally his final defeat on grass by any of the 128 gamers on this 12 months’s draw, although for a number of years he has averted any of the grass court docket warm-up occasions.

“For me, the opening match is somewhat bit tough, I’ve not performed any warm-up match and grass is somewhat completely different to clay,” Djokovic mentioned.

“I’ve managed to adapt fairly properly through the years and hopefully I handle to do it once more.”

Djokovic accepted that the rain delay was irritating for the gang however mentioned it was nonetheless slippery till after the roof had been reopened.

“I often come out with racquets, not towels,” he mentioned.

As a reminder of the small margins that separate the nice from the merely superb, Wimbledon debutant Cachin had performed just one match on grass, and misplaced it. For lengthy spells on Monday, he went toe to toe with probably the most profitable participant of all time and broke him for a 3-2 first-set lead on a uncommon Djokovic double fault.

The champion broke again instantly, nonetheless, and when he started to seek out his vary, battered his approach via the Argentine’s defences to take the primary set in 42 minutes.

Then adopted the type of rain delay that drives Wimbledon followers mad.

However the motion resumed after 70 minutes – with the roof open once more – and Djokovic hit the bottom operating.

Venus Williams goes down injured in opposition to Elina Svitolina, of Ukraine. Photograph: Getty

Venus out at first hurdle

5-time champion Venus Williams returned to Wimbledon 1 / 4 of a century after her first win however was unable to summon the outdated magic in a first-round defeat by Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina.

The 43-year-old American, showing on the championships for a report twenty fourth time, retains the straightforward energy that after made her the queen of Centre Courtroom however went down 6-4 6-3.

Former world No.1 Williams, whose final Wimbledon title got here in 2008 in opposition to sister Serena, gained the opening two video games. However she seemed in deep trouble within the subsequent as her bandaged proper knee buckled below her whereas she moved to intercept a volley.

The Centre Courtroom crowd winced as she crumpled to the turf. However after staggering again to her chair and receiving remedy, the outdated warrior spirit kicked in and Williams battled on.

The 28-year-old Svitolina, who at the very least was born when Venus first appeared at Wimbledon, not like 53 gamers within the girls’s draw, gained 4 video games in a row and took the opening set regardless of a fierce wrestle to carry serve at 5-4.

Williams had extra remedy earlier than the beginning of set two however dropped serve instantly with a forehand into the online.

The group supplied loads of vocal encouragement, one fan shouting “You’ve nonetheless bought it Venus” as she fought to increase the 355th grand slam singles match of her profession – a complete surpassed solely by her sister Serena (423).

However former world No.3 Svitolina, who loved a fairy-tale comeback from maternity go away by reaching the French Open quarter-finals final month, was in the end simply too sharp as she moved right into a 5-1 lead.

Williams, who additionally gained the title in 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2007, was not going to go down and not using a struggle, unleashing some thunderous strokes to claw again two video games.

Svitolina bought the job executed although and because the night sunshine turned to shade, Williams walked off overwhelmed, waving what may need been a ultimate farewell to the gang.