The defending champion Novak Djokovic will again miss out on Centre Court billing, with his clash against Ugo Humbert being shifted to Court 1. Many were expecting a potential thriller between Djokovic and Canadian prodigy Felix Auger Aliassime but Humbert put paid to that with his win in the previous round.
Humbert was ranked just inside the top 300 this time last year but looks to have established himself as a solid top 100 player in rapid time. He has several Challenger Tour titles on his record and also managed to make the semi finals in Marseille earlier in the year. Humbert had a lucky escape in round one, eventually getting the win by retirement after previously being two sets down to Gael Monfils. His 6-4 7-5 6-3 win over Auger Aliassime came as a surprise to many but the Frenchman served extremely well and remained solid against an opponent who looked to struggle with the expectations. “It’s a dream. It’s maybe the best match of my career, for sure,” Humbert said afterwards.
Djokovic did lose a set against Hubert Hurkacz in his third round win but the match never looked in doubt for the World No.1. Following the loss of a second set tiebreak, he broke in his first return game of the third and was on cruise control from then on. “I should have capitalised on my opportunities also in the second set. I wasn’t really on top of his second serve. I was a bit hesitant in the play, which wasn’t the case in the first two matches.” He said on his performance. “But I think third set was great. Fourth set, as well, very solid. I’m really pleased with the way I finished the match.”
The draw has been falling apart in Djokovic’s half but he won’t be getting complacent despite the draw being seen to be getting easier as the fortnight goes on. He was highly complementary of Humbert’s game but it would be a major surprise for him to be troubled in this one. “Big serve, very explosive, very dynamic player. He’s tall, has a big game from back of the court. Flat backhand, very solid. He can play anything really. He’s an all-around player,” Djokovic said.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in straight sets