Stretched at times, but Novak Djokovic has prevailed again. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
Stretched at times, but Novak Djokovic has prevailed again. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

Bloodbath clears Djokovic’s path to Wimbledon final

WORLD No.1 Novak Djokovic has negotiated big-hitter Hubert Hurkacz to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon, as his path to the final was blown wide open.

The defending champion's campaign eased after he became the only top 10 seed left on his side of the draw.

Last year's runner-up, Kevin Anderson, and Russian 10th seed Karen Khachanov were both eliminated on Friday.

Canadian sensation Felix Auger-Aliassime - seeded 19th - was also dumped out a round before he was scheduled to meet Djokovic.

The world No.1 was caught up by Hurkacz, coming off second-best in all the razzle-dazzle shots the 22-year-old could throw at him and also being banned from wearing his baseball cap by the umpire as it fell foul of Wimbledon's all-white rules.

However, Djokovic is not known as Mr Consistency for nothing and he survived all the hullabaloo to reach the last 16 for the 12th time at the grass court major, prevailing 7-5 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-4.

"For the opposition, he is sickeningly consistent," summed up American great John McEnroe.

"He isn't flashy, he doesn't play with the same intensity point in point out as Nadal does, his shots are not as beautiful as Federer's - but rock solid is an understatement. He is so efficient."

Earlier in the men's draw, Argentina's Guido Pella eliminated last year's finalist and South African sixth seed  Anderson 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-4) result on Centre Court.

Tenth seed Khachanov went down to Spain's Roberto Bautista-Agut  6-3 7-6 (7-3) 6-1.

Canada's Milos Raonic entered the second week of the tournament after dispatching American Reilly Opelka 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 6-1, with the 2016 finalist to next face Anderson's conqueror Pella.

Auger-Aliassime, tipped by some as a potential Wimbledon champion, described his exit as "embarrassing".

The 18-year-old Canadian, the youngest man in the draw, slumped to a 6-4 7-5 6-3 loss to France's Ugo Humbert, a fellow tournament debutant.

Auger-Aliassime was bidding to become the youngest player in the Wimbledon last 16 since Bernard Tomic in 2011.

But once he let slip a 5-2 lead in the second set, his game fell apart.

"Today, it's weird to describe. Pressure got to me, and it got to a point where it was a bit embarrassing," Auger-Aliassime said.

"It was just tough. I just wasn't finding ways. I think he just did what he had to do. From my end it was pretty embarrassing."

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

Left-handed Humbert, the world No.66, will face four-time champion  Djokovic in the last 16 on Monday.

Until this year, the 20-year-old Frenchman had never played a grass court match either as a junior or professional.