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Djokovic takes another Step towards Wimbledon title

ESPN staff
June 29, 2012 « Sao Paolo still hopeful of Denilson stay | Chartbeat test »

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Novak Djokovic avoided an upset against Radek Stepanek to book his place in the fourth round at Wimbledon.

Having seen rival Rafael Nadal dumped out by Stepanek's compatriot Lukas Rosol on Thursday night, Djokovic dropped the opening set, but recovered to claim a 4-6 6-2 6-2 6-2 victory.

Djokovic, who is bidding to become the first man to successfully defend his Wimbledon title since Roger Federer in 2007, was left to rue his wastefulness as Stepanek made the most of his chances to snatch the opening set.

Having fended off five break points to keep himself in the opening set, Stepanek stunned the defending champion, breaking Djokovic to love to take an unlikely lead.

However, that setback seemed to spur the world No. 1 into action, and he stepped on the gas, breaking his opponent in his opening game of the second set, before grabbing a second break to level proceedings.

Any hopes of another upset on Centre Court was swiftly crushed by the Serb, who by now was firmly into his rhythm, dominating the baseline exchanges as he raced to a 4-0 lead before strolling through the third set.

The fourth set had a familiar feel to it, as for the third set in a row, Stepanek dropped his opening service game, and there was no way back for the 33-year-old, who was helpless to stop Djokovic marching away to victory.

Djokovic will now face compatriot Viktor Troicki in the last 16 after the world No. 34 defeated Argentina's Juan Monaco 7-5 7-5 6-3.

Richard Gasquet continued his impressive march into the fourth round with a 6-3 6-4 6-4 victory over Spaniard Nicolas Almagro. Gasguet, who is yet to drop a set at the All England Club, will fancy his chances against Florian Mayer, who defeated Polish qualifier Jerzy Janowicz in five sets.

Elsewhere, Denis Istomin defeated Alejandro Falla, while Mikhail Youzhny got the better of eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the draw, Sam Querrey won the battle of the big-servers as he ousted Milos Raonic 6-7(3) 7-6(7) 7-6(8) 6-4.

The match was finely poised at 3-3 in the third set when play was suspended on Thursday, but the American won a third tiebreak before the only break of serve in the match helped him on the way to victory. Querrey will take on Marin Cilic in the third round, with the winner likely to face Andy Murray in the last-16.

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