Djokovic shoulder survives Tsonga test

Reuters| Last Updated: Jul 01, 2014, 05:29 AM IST

London: If there were fears that Novak Djokovic`s double-fisted backhands might start malfunctioning after a heavy fall on his shoulder three days ago, they were dismissed by a show-stopping crosscourt service return on match point on Monday.

That shot left Jo-Wilfried Tsonga praying for a Hawkeye miracle - after the linesman and umpire failed to agree on whether the shot had kissed the line or not - while a wide-eyed Djokovic nodded his head and lapped up the cheers with outstretched arms.

Running to the net to shake hands with his French victim, Djokovic`s celebrations were briefly put on hold as he discovered that Tsonga had had the temerity to challenge what the Serb thought was the shot of the match.

Seconds later the deafening roar that went on and on under Centre Court`s closed roof left no doubt to those inside, or outside, the hallowed arena about which way Hawkeye`s call had gone.

The 6-3 6-4 7-6(5) victory gives Djokovic his 21st successive grand slam quarter-final - his sixth at Wimbledon - and a last-eight showdown with Croatia`s Marin Cilic.

"I am feeling good. I had two days off and recovered a little bit. I had a couple of tough matches last week, especially the second round against Radek Stepanek, so it was good to win this in straight sets against a quality player like Jo and I am looking forward to the next challenge," Djokovic said after registering his 35th successive win against French players.

When Djokovic and Tsonga faced off for the first time, at the Australian Open final in 2008, many thought it was the start of a promising rivalry that would lead to both players battling it out for the big prizes for years to come.

Those predictions turned out to be only 50 percent accurate. While Djokovic has taken his grand slam haul to six, Tsonga has failed to reach another major final.

To add to his woes, his rivalry against Djokovic has turned into a one-sided romp. In their previous meeting at the French Open the Frenchman won only six games.

If Tsonga had been pinning his hopes on Djokovic still feeling the effects of Friday`s painful tumble, he was left sorely disappointed.

Not only was Djokovic`s left shoulder in perfect working order, the top seed cranked up the power as he scorched Tsonga with a series of double-fisted backhands.

His serving was also on fire as he chased an 11th successive win against the French 14th seed.

Djokovic dominated the opening two sets before Tsonga finally came alive in the third and threatened to take the upper hand in the set when he held two break points in the eighth game.

The Serb snuffed out those chances with some powerful serving and the blazing crosscourt winner that left him bellowing in triumph a few minutes later.