Jabeur cruises into third round but Djokovic made to work against Fearnley

    Jabeur cruises into third round but Djokovic made to work against Fearnley

    Ons Jabeur is safely through to the third round of Wimbledon after a straight sets 6-1, 7-5 victory over the American Robin Montgomery on Thursday.

    Jabeur had defeated Japan’s Moyuka Uchijima 6-3, 6-1 in the first round and, after a briefly uncertain start against Montgomery, put her foot down to take the first set in convincing fashion before sealing progress after a more competitive second.

    Jabeur took a 2-0 lead but was surprisingly broken in the third game. With Montgomery serving to level the match at 2-2, Jabeur then won a pivotal 15-point fourth game, finally taking her fourth break point and then romping away to a 6-1 advantage.

    The crucial game of the second set was the 11th, when Jabeur scored another break and then served out the match.

    Montgomery, 19, was looking for only her second Grand Slam main-draw victory but was outgunned by the No 10 seed, the runner-up at SW19 in 2022 and 2023.

    Next up Jabeur plays the winner of the match between Elina Svitolina and Jule Niemeier. If it’s Svitolina, the 29-year-old Ukrainian won the first three encounters with Jabeur, between 2012-19, but Jabeur triumphed in their most recent clash, a 2021 quarter-final in Chicago.

    “We are sharing a dream of winning Wimbledon, so that means a lot,” said Jabeur as she addressed her supporters in the crowd after the match.

    “I am not saying it just because I am playing this tournament but this crowd is my favourite, for sure. I feel so much love, and they give me their energy to play every match. Sometimes I have a lot of pressure and I just try, and I see them here, and I enjoy playing and I try my best to win and stay as long as I can here.”

    Even though Novak Djokovic was nursing a right knee problem, toppling him at Wimbledon was never going to be easy for the 277th-ranked Jacob Fearnley but the Brit at least briefly threatened the upset before the Serb huffed and puffed into the third round with a 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 win.

    Wildcard Fearnley, who was ranked outside the world’s top 500 just a month ago before jumping up almost 250 spots after winning a Challenger event in Nottingham, will take a lot away from his Centre Court debut.

    He is unlikely to forget the high-risk, high-reward strategy he employed in the final game of the third set, which ended with Djokovic hacking a forehand wide to surrender his serve and the set – to the delight of the crowd.

    But all the heroics from a journeyman Scot, who until this week had never competed at a Grand Slam, were simply not enough to tame a player chasing a record-extending 25th major title.

    “I don’t know if I really had a champion’s mentality today,” said Djokovic in his on-court interview after the match. “I was not really comfortable in my own skin, particularly in the third and fourth sets but sometimes you have rough days where you’re not feeling your best and of course it also depends on the opponent across the net.

    “Today, Jacob I thought played on a high level and he made me earn this victory so all in all, it was a win at the end of the day and I’ll take it. Hopefully I can play even better in the next round.”

    “Honestly, I was feeling OK,” he added when asked about his fitness. “I was feeling all right. I don’t want to be looking for any excuses for my performance today. Again, credit to Jacob. On my side, I should have done some things better when I was a break up in the third. As I said, very swirly, very challenging conditions on the court.

    “I think physically I felt well. Can I be playing better and moving better? Yes, absolutely, so I’m hoping that as the tournament progresses, I’ll be feeling a bit better.”

    Updated: July 04, 2024, 4:50 PM

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