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Genuine Wimbledon Scare for Djokovic

Things weren’t quite as straightforward as Novak Djokovic might have hoped at Wimbledon on Friday, as fans were treated to an exciting match between the Serbian superstar and Polish talent, Hubert Hurkacz, who gave the top seed a real fright.

Djokovic was forced to dig deep in the opening set, winning 7-5, although Hurkacz was keen to push his superstar rival to the very limits. The 22-year-old Pole even clawed his way back into the match, covering every inch of the court and battling for every point, taking the second set 6-7 and getting the upper hand during several enthralling rallies.

Nevertheless, after those two intense and nail-biting opening sets, the experience and quality of Djokovic eventually emerged. It only took the defending champion 25 minutes to demolish the resolve of Hurkacz, taking the third set by a comfortable 6-1 margin. After that, the fourth set proved to be a mere formality for the Serbian, although he knew he’d been handed a very stiff test by the tenacious young Polish player, who will certainly be one to watch in the future.

15-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic remains the outright favourite to reign supreme at Wimbledon, according to the latest odds at Paddy Power, with the Serbian priced at 8/11 to win the Men’s Singles title after beating Hurkacz and booking his passage to the Fourth Round. Those odds have continued to fall based on potential rivals he’ll face on the path to the final.

In the battle of up and coming stars of the future, 21-year-old Frenchman Ugo Humbert secured his Fourth-Round meeting with Djokovic thanks to a straight-sets victory against 18-year-old prodigy, Felix Auger-Aliassime. The youngster was seeded 19 heading into the tournament and was expected to go far, although the Canadian talent was unable to find his rhythm against an impressive display from Humbert on the day.

Elsewhere, another important potential rival for Djokovic fell by the wayside in the Third Round. Russian 11th seed Daniil Medvedev started well against 21st seed David Goffin, winning the first set of their duel 6-4. However, the Belgian rallied to take the second set 6-2 and that set up a titanic struggle. Medvedev claimed the third 6-3, but Goffin refused to surrender, eventually taking the fourth set 6-3 and the deciding fifth set by 7-5.

Goffin will now face 35-year-old Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco, who beat Thomas Fabbiano in straight sets; 6-4, 7-6, 6-4. The furthest that Verdasco has ever reached at Wimbledon was the Quarter-Final in 2013, eventually losing a thrilling encounter with Andy Murry over five sets. Should he beat Goffin in the Fourth Round, there’s the real possibility of an equally dueling match-up with Djokovic, should he beat Humbert.

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