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Friday, June 26, 2009

Djokovic sails past Fish

Photo Titled Mardy Fish
Mardy Fish tackles Novak Djokovic in the third round on centre court.

Novak Djokovic, the fourth seed and probably the greatest threat to Roger Federer's peace of mind in the lower half of the men's singles draw, marched into the last 16 with a solid and competent 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory in one hour 58 minutes over Mardy Fish of the US.

The Centre Court setting for this match was appropriate reward for the 28th-seeded Fish, who has known some bleak times with injury, especially to the wrist, but he rarely threatened to break his losing streak against Djokovic, which now stretches to four.

It was a good-natured contest, clearly enjoyed by both men as well as the audience. At one point, the 22-year-old Serb challenged (unsuccessfully) on his opponent's behalf against a line call when he had already won the point.

But the prospects of a Fish upset were never realistic once Djokovic had hit his stride by breaking to lead 4-3 in the opening set after a long deuce game terminated by an overhit Fish forehand.

Much of the good fortune also went Djokovic's way. He held serve to lead 5-3 with a dead net cord, but there was nothing lucky about the ace, his third of the match in an overall total of eight, which helped to close out the first set in 38 minutes.

Opting for headgear, and then discarding it in the late evening sunshine, Fish seemed in a similarly mixed frame of mind in the fourth set, falling 4-0 behind. But he shrugged off any negative thoughts with a three-game run of his own and for a while Djokovic struggled to fend off the newly-invigorated American 27-year-old. He managed to do so with the help of another ace and a couple of bad volley errors from Fish and in his next service game won to love, leaving Fish clearly dejected.

With Djokovic below his very best level, however, there remained faint hope for Fish until the seventh game of the third set when he extinguished those hopes entirely off his own racket.

In a deuce game Djokovic was not required to win any of the five points that went his way, since every one was a Fish error. From then on, Djokovic's progress into the fourth round was a formality.

Centre Court - Gentlemen's Singles - 3rd Round
Mardy Fish USA (28)444
Novak Djokovic SRB (4)Winner666

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