July 7, 2018
The defiant roar from Novak Djokovic said it all. The old warrior is back, and extremely dangerous.
His defensive brilliance and all-round craft evenfually wore down Kyle Edmund, who saw his Wimbledon dream disappear.
Novak triumphed 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 as he used all his experience and aggression to turn around a critical situation.
But Simona Halep, the world number one and Wimbledon favourite, became yet another highly fancied first-week casualty. She lost in three sets to blow the women’s singles wide open.
The Taiwanese world number 48, Hsieh Su-wei saved a match point before pulling off the shock. She won through 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and 20 minutes.
As for Djokovic, he paid tribute to his British opponent. ‘It was tough, Edmund has been playing really well lately, he won our last encounter. His backhand has improved, his forehand has always been a weapon. He was a set up, but fortunately I was able to come back.’
Novak even had to put up with a mistaken call at a key moment midway through the fourth set. But instead of unravelling, he simply redoubled his efforts to close out the match.
Djokovic explained: ‘I was a hundred per cent convinced, but everyone can make a mistake. I asked how he could play the shot he made if it didn’t bounce twice.
‘I’m looking forward to the second week, I’ve had phenomenal success on Wimbledon courts over the last decade.’
Although Edmund isn’t a grass court specialist, it was hoped by the home crowd that he could replicate the heroics of the England football team in Russia.
But it wasn’t to be. And he was finally undone by a Djokovic ace, when Kyle had no more challenges left to question its accuracy.
There was a moment of stunned disbelief from Djokovic that he had actually done it. Then the roar of the tennis warrior.
And that told his opponents for the second week that they had better watch out. The former champion is very much back.