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Friday, June 26, 2009

Djokovic cruises past Fish

The Championships - Wimbledon 2009 Day Five

Novak Djokovic marched into the fourth round of Wimbledon with an almost routine 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory over Mardy Fish.

Only a momentary lapse in the second set threatened to knock the Serbian off course, but he quickly recovered to set up a clash with Dudi Sela of Israel in the last 16.

Fish, seeded 28th at SW19, was up against the ropes in the opening game but saved two break points thanks in part to a lucky net cord.

However, Djokovic looked the better player throughout the opening set and eventually gained an edge in game seven when, facing a fifth break point, Fish sent a forehand wide.

The fourth seed quickly wrapped up the opening set, and with the wind in his sails raced into a 4-0 lead in the second with Fish continuing to make the errors.

But it was Djokovic who then began to struggle and his American opponent took advantage with a fine volley at the net to pull one break back and reduce the deficit to 4-3.

Djokovic recovered from the lapse though and with the rest of the set going with serve, was able to extend his lead.

Fish had never gone beyond the third round in six previous appearances at Wimbledon, and it became apparent he would suffer the same fate again when Djokovic broke again in game seven of the third set.

It was the only break the Serbian needed and he eventually found himself serving for the match, sealing the win in just under two hours when Fish returned wide.

Djokovic had few complaints with his performance.

"Today I performed the best match so far in Wimbledon, which is really encouraging for the remainder of the tournament," he said.

"The more matches I play, I seem to be playing better, which is always a positive fact.

"I was saying prior to the match that return is probably one of the key elements in the game against Mardy. And I think I did well with that.

"I was always making him play an extra shot, which he obviously doesn't like. He has a big serve and he gets a lot of free points on the serve.

"But since I returned so well, he was having a lot of ups and downs and a very low first serve percentage in."

Despite being the fourth seed, Djokovic has managed to keep a low profile so far at Wimbledon with the attention very much on former champion Roger Federer and home favourite Andy Murray.

And the Serbian seems happy to keep it that way.

"I realise the situation that I am in right now," said the world number four.

"Andy Murray and Roger Federer are in the spotlight, and obviously they deserve to be in that situation because they have been playing great tennis the last six, seven months.

"But you have to look from the brighter side. I think it's good as it kind of releases the pressure on me."

Fish also believes Djokovic could be one to keep an eye on in the men's draw.

"He's playing real well," said the American. "He's a tough match-up for an attacking player.

"He plays great defence. He even slides on the grass and he gets a lot of balls back.

"It's not too bad to lose to someone like Novak. He's made the semi-finals of every slam. I certainly see him going further here than the fourth round."

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