Who would have believed a man who hadn’t won a Grand Slam match in a year would dethrone Novak Djokovic? That’s just what happened on this “Super Saturday” at Wimbledon.
As we went to bed last night, unheralded American Sam Querrey led Djokovic by two sets. On the brink of one of the great upsets in recent times. But the upon resumption, as many predicted, a re-dedicated Djokovic seized the upper hand, breaking out to a 4-0 lead in the third set before the rains shifted the momentum yet again.
Querrey regained some footing after the delay, but Djokovic took the third convincingly 6-3. Order had been restored. Querrey had missed his chance to win last night. Or had he?
In the fourth, Djokovic again was sharp, however, he kept failing to convert break chances. Querrey, after early nerves, was working his way back to his Friday level. Yet, he too couldn’t convert. But he kept fighting.
Djokovic finally broke through at 4-4, and a fifth set and a fifth 0-2 comeback for the world No. 1 seemed inevitable. Incredibly, though, Djokovic couldn’t close the set. Unable to challenge to calls which would have gone his way, Djokovic watched Querrey break back for five all then held for 6-5.
Just as Djokovic was to serve to get to a fourth set breaker, the skies opened up again. My goodness!
Forty-five minutes later, Djokovic returned to the court and cooly forced the breaker which he then led 3-1 after a horrendous overhead miss from the Californian. Querrey once again looked finished. Somehow, he wasn’t.
Sam battled back, kept his backhand on mark and kept pounding that serve. And it worked. Djokovic lost the lead then lost his hammerlock on men’s tennis when an errant forehand went wide. Djokovic’s reign, for the moment, was over. Sam had won 7-6(6), 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(5).
Disbelief fell upon the tennis world.
Gone was Novak’s march toward a fifth straight Grand Slam. A calendar Slam and his 30-match Slam win streak. Gone his chance at a third straight Wimbledon title. Gone the greatest season of his career, or for anyone. Just like that. All gone.
First, full credit to Querrey for getting the job done when few thought he could. Especially after losing that third set.
He served well – 31 aces – and his groundstrokes really held up when they had to, particularly in that tiebreaker.
“It’s incredible to do it here at Wimbledon, the biggest tournament in the world,” Querrey told the BBC. “I’m so ecstatic right now. I played the break points well, kept delivering the big serves, and I fought hard in the tie-break. I’m so happy.”
And according to him, the weight of sleeping on a 2-set lead didn’t both him either.
“I slept great,” he said. “I’m a pretty relaxed guy. Had an easy dinner at the house. My parents are there, some friends, my girlfriend. We just kind of hung out. Nothing exciting. Got back here today and went to work. Just stayed the course, didn’t do anything special. Can be tricky with all those rain delays, but fortunately just went out there, served well the whole time, played a great tie-breaker at the end to get the win.”
After a bizarre Friday, Djokovic appeared much more settled and more engaged today. Had the match started in full this afternoon, you could see a scoreline like 6-3, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 for Djokovic. But Novak couldn’t overcome the hole he had dug for himself. It was just too deep.
“It’s disappointing, of course, losing at a Grand Slam hurts… There is no doubt about that,” said Djokovic. “I just wasn’t feeling the ball as well as I wished. But that’s sport.”
And who knows what’s really troubling the Serb. If you want to argue about the rain and the delays and the court scheduling, fine, but what happened yesterday? So something clearly is bothering Novak, but he’s not saying.
“Not really, but it’s not the time and place to talk about it,” Djokovic replied when asked if he was healthy.
And he didn’t want to talk about his practice session either. I guess we’ll find out eventually, who knows when and where. And who knows when he plays again. Cincinnati? Like Serena after losing the Open, this is going to take some time.
With Novak now out of the way, the spotlight and pressure shifts even more to new tournament favorite Andy Murray. And the 2013 champion capped off a comfy first week with a straightforward win over Australian John Millman 6-3, 7-5, 6-2. But the focus was Djokovic and the fact that now he’s the man to beat.
“If I were to reach the final, then it may have some bearing, but it doesn’t right now. My draw’s still exactly the same. The matches, in the next round especially, are tough,” said Murray. “The bookies don’t always get it right. Your job is to go out there and try to win the matches that are there in front of you. That’s what I’ll try and do.”
Murray will await the completion of the Nick Kyrgios-Feliciano Lopez match which was suspended at a set-all.
A few other winners were Steve Johnson who reached his first Grand Slam fourth round beating the beleaguered Grigor Dimitrov in four sets. Good win for Steve, but someone tell me, what is Grigor’s gameplan?
And Milos Raonic won his eighth straight over Jack Sock beating the American in straight sets – Raonic is looking mighty tough right now. And Kei Nishikori set up a US Open rematch with Marin Cilic on Monday.
Four matches suspended due to darkness will resume on Sunday. Along with the Kyrgios match, John Isner led JW Tsonga by two sets to one, Richard Gasquet led Albert Ramos Vinolas also by that score and Juan Martin Del Potro and Lucas Pouille had split sets.
Also tomorrow, Tomas Berdych takes on Alexander Zverev on Center Court. I think the teen can pull the upset.
WIMBLEDON SUNDAY SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT – 11:30AM
1. Coco Vandeweghe (USA)  v Roberta Vinci (ITA) 
2. Serena Williams (USA)  v Annika Beck (GER)
3. Alexander Zverev (GER)  v Tomas Berdych (CZE) 
NO.1 COURT – 11:30AM
1. Sloane Stephens (USA)  v Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 
2. Nick Kyrgios (AUS)  v Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 
3. Jiri Vesely (CZE) v Joao Sousa (POR) 
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