Tuesday 27 September 2016

Reigning champion Novak Djokovic crashes out of Wimbledon to American Sam Querrey

Wayne Gardiner

Published 02/07/2016 | 17:18

Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts as he returns to US player Sam Querrey during their men's singles third round match on the sixth day of the 2016 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon
Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts as he returns to US player Sam Querrey during their men's singles third round match on the sixth day of the 2016 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic is out of Wimbledon before the second week after Sam Querrey defied the odds and an overnight rain delay to cause a huge shock.

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World number one and defending champion Djokovic has been near enough unbeatable over the last two years but Querrey found a way on Court One.

After opening a two-set lead on Friday he was left to stew on how close he was to victory all night as the rain washed out the evening's play.

Djokovic returned to court as the heavy bookmakers' favourite in spite of the scoreline and backed that up as he won the third set 6-3.

But Querrey, who had only made the fourth round of a grand slam three times before this, found something special once more to take the fourth set and win 7-6 (8/6) 6-1 3-6 7-6 (7/5).

He held his nerve once more during that time, with rain having forced the players off again as he led 6-5 in the fourth set.

"I'm ecstatic, it's the biggest tournament in the world," Querrey said. "I played the break points really well, came up with a big serve, got a couple of losing errors in the tie-break."

On how he felt overnight, he added: "He came out and got the first four games, then we had another rain delay and I was able to regroup.

"He is on the way to being the greatest ever, so I knew he would be mentally tough. I am just going to be happy with this and look forward to the next round a bit."

The result will send shockwaves through the tournament and, though he will not say anything publicly, it is a real boost for British number one Andy Murray.

The pair have been on a constant collision course at the head of men's tennis for some time, with Djokovic prevailing more often than not and most recently in the finals of the Australian and French Opens.

Many had assumed that the two men would meet in the Wimbledon showpiece too but all that has now changed.

When Djokovic returned to court on Saturday, it was still felt a formality that he would win, especially when he won the third set 6-3 either side of another rain delay.

That was discounting Querrey.

Both players had chances to steal a march at the start of the fourth, Djokovic spurning eight break points and Querrey five over the first six games, with the latter particularly rueful after a shocking forehand into the net on a second serve.

The chances continued to present themselves to Djokovic and as he reached his 12th break point he finally took one, putting a forehand away from a tired-looking Querrey who had to let it go.

Remarkably, though, Djokovic was broken as he served for the set. Querrey had already wasted his sixth chance but when the Serb netted a close-range volley, he was back on terms.

Querrey then held to 6-5, guaranteeing himself a tie-break to win it at least, when light drizzle forced the two men off, with Djokovic given valuable time to get his head together.

He could not be saved this time, though, and although he held to a breaker, he made unusual errors - including one final wide forehand - to crash out.

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