Djokovic surges past Tsonga into Wimbledon last eight
Novak Djokovic looked fixated on overcoming his 2013 Wimbledon final loss to Andy Murray as he surged past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to book his place in the quarter-finals on Monday.
Djokovic wrapped up a 6-3 6-4 7-6 victory against Tsonga to set up a last eight tie with Marin Cilic; it is the 21st straight grand slam and sixth successive Wimbledon Championships that Djokovic has won through to the quarter-final stage.
The opening five games went with serve as Tsonga, often the crowd favourite at SW19, gave little away in his service games.
Djokovic had the advantage at 3-2 ahead and soon found himself three break points to disrupt Tsonga's early rhythm. The first was well saved by the Frenchman before Djokovic wasted the second with a double fault.
However, it proved third time lucky for the Serb as his opponent sent a return long of the baseline before rocking his head back in sheer disappointment.
Djokovic held to serve before Tsonga responded with a game-to-love, but the first set was going only one way. At 40-0 up, Djokovic netted his return to waste the opening set point before Tsonga rallied with a rocket return to draw it back to 40-30.
However, Djokovic timed an ace to perfection to wrap up the opening set inside the first 30 minutes on court.
Three games, all to serve, passed in rapid fashion as the crowd were joined by members of the Royal Box in a Mexican wave during the changing of ends.
Tsonga's stubbornness remained defiant up until the seventh game of the second set; whereas the 17th seed's serve appeared impenetrable, Djokovic remained patient and finally took the chance when it arrived.
Djokovic wary of Cilic threat
- Novak Djokovic is aware of the threat quarter-final opponent Marin Cilic poses despite leading him 9-0 in their head-to-head record.
- The pair will battle it out for a place in the Wimbledon semi-finals but DJokovic is not taking anything for granted.
- "It [record] plays maybe a little bit in my mental favour, but he is now working with Goran Ivanisevic and he has improved a lot, especially his serve which is important on this surface," he told the BBC.
- "He has beaten Tomas Berdych and Jeremy Chardy and he knows how to win on grass so it will be a tough one."
With the help of Hawk-Eye, Djokovic moved to 30-30 before forcing Tsonga to find the net with a weak backhand. His keenness to atone for the error proved the unravelling factor as a long forehand gifted Djokovic the break and effectively the second set.
Even when 0-40 down, five straight points could not save the set for Tsonga; Djokovic simply responded with a hold to love and entered a commanding lead.
Tsonga, though, rarely limps without a fight and his big-swinging gusto of a serve earned him the first game of the third. The first six games were shared, albeit narrowly, as Tsonga began to exert pressure on his opponent's serve.
Twice he had the opportunity to break, much to the appreciation of the Centre Court crowd. Twice he failed as, in the face of adversity, Djokovic demonstrated the clear difference between these two players; the ability to hold under sheer pressure.
Tsonga knows how to entertain a crowd, though. Four crashing aces provided roars of delight from the crowd as the third set eventually descended into a tie-break.
At 6-5, Djokovic had match point number one. Tsonga smashed his first serve wide of the line and attempted to send his opponent wide on the second. Djokovic read it and superbly landed a cross-court backhand which, after a failed challenge, gave him right of passage into the final eight.