Andrey Rublev unleashed a shot for the ages on his way to a first-ever quarter-final at Wimbledon on Sunday.
The flame-haired seventh seed tumbled to the grass after completing a falling-down winner to earn a third match point and then finish off a 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-4 victory over Halle champion Alexander Bublik.
The dramatic move into the quarter-finals by the seventh seed marked the end of a tight confrontation which lasted for three and a quarter hours.
Victory came an hour after Rublev had two match points in the fourth set but failed to come through.
He needed to win another set to finally get the job done.
“It was the most lucky shot ever, nothing else,” the winner said. “I don’t think I could do that one more time.”
Rublev said he told himself not to panic after failing his first two match-winning chances went wrong.
“I was thinking that it doesn’t matter, I said the longer we played the more I would get another chance. Finally I was able to break him (for 4-3 in the fifth set).
“I just needed not to explode before the match was over – I was able to make it.”
Jannik Sinner overcame a brief explosion of temper as he fired a ball into the stands before settling in to complete a 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-3 win over Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan.
The sixth-seeded winner is the first Italian man to reach two career Wimbledon quarter-finals after achieving the round of eight in 2022. .
Sinner advanced on his third match point after just over two and a half hours on court,
“In the second set I did hit the ball. sometimes players can get a little frustrated,” he said. “But that is sport.
“I’m usually calm but sometimes it happens, like today. From my side there wee some tough (line calls).”
Sinner added; “I’m very happy, it was a tough day and I was not feeling so good on the court.
“But I still tried to fight for every ball and win the most important points.
Grigor Dimitrov eliminated the last American man in the field as he beat Frances Tiafoe handily, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in less than an hour and three-quarters in a match interrupted the day before.
The Bulgarian will face a challenge in the fourth round against Danish sixth seed Holger Rune.
“Yesterday I was playing good tennis, and obviously it was a little bit unfortunate to stop,” the winner said.
“It’s very very hard to come back and do the same the next day. I just prepared the same way. I did all the right things.
“I tried to put myself in sort of the same state of mind that I
was the day before – it paid off, absolutely paid off today.”
Canadian Denis Shapovalov was treated for a left knee problem and given a tablet by the doctor in his fourth set on the way to a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 loss to tournament first-timer Roman Safiullin.
“I felt sore the whole time. I was getting more tired in the glutes, around the knee, quads, everything,” the Canadian said of a mystery injury which he first felt in October.