Saturday, July 13, 2024

Djokovic passes stiff Fearnley test


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London, July 4: Life comes at you fast sometimes. Nine months ago, 22-year-old Jacob Fearnley was ranked outside the world’s top 1,000 players.
On Day Four at Wimbledon 2024, in just the third Tour-level match of his career, the Scot walked out on to Centre Court to take on seven-time champion Novak Djokovic.
Crikey, as Fearnley almost certainly did not say. All too many of Djokovic’s opponents have found the assignment akin to emptying out the ocean with a spoon.
How to describe such a task? Daunting, of course – but also utterly thrilling, with the home crowd roaring on their young standard bearer.Fearnley earned a wild card here after winning the Nottingham Challenger out of the blue last month, yet Djokovic found him a considerably tougher test than Vit Kopriva, the qualifier ranked 154 places higher whom the great man dismissed in the first round for the loss of five games.
Always aggressive in the battle, Fearnley’s resourcefulness on the return brought him back from a break down in the third set to force a fourth.
Still just a month since his knee surgery, Djokovic appeared at times not to race about the court freely, and to move with care between points.
Ultimately it was too much to imagine that the Scot might become the first man ranked outside the top 200 ever to inflict defeat upon Djokovic. But the No.2 seed prevailed 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 – and a fifth set might have been a severe test for the Serb.
In the end, it was a valiant effort from Jacob Fearnley, who showcased remarkable grit and talent on one of tennis’s grandest stages. (AP)


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