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Tennis: Djokovic cruises at Wimbledon, Zverev crashes

LONDON, July 10 ------ Novak Djokovic demolished Holger Rune to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals, staying on track for a record-breaking 25th Grand Slam as Taylor Fritz stunned fourth seed Alexander Zverev. Ukraine's Elina Svitolina wore a black ribbon and broke down in tears as she progressed hours after a Russian missile barrage killed dozens and ripped open a children's hospital in Kyiv. Seven-time champion Djokovic, who dropped sets in the second and third rounds, was expected to be tested by Rune, but instead gave the young Dane a harsh lesson, winning 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in a shade over two hours. 


The Serb, 37, still wearing a knee support on his right knee after surgery last month, did not drop a single point in the opening three games against his bewildered opponent. He engineered a single break in the second set before two more breaks in the third set sealed a quarter-final against Australian ninth seed Alex de Minaur. But despite his easy win, the Serbian launched an angry tirade against some sections of the Centre Court crowd, whom he accused of showing him disrespect. "To all the fans that have had respect and stayed here tonight, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I appreciate it," said a frustrated Djokovic after reaching a 60th Grand Slam quarter-final. "And to all those people that have chosen to disrespect the player in this case me have a good night," he added, mocking his tormentors.  


Djokovic, seeking to equal Roger Federer's record of eight Wimbledon men's titles, is also aiming to pull clear of Margaret Court's mark of 24 majors. Earlier, 13th seed Fritz mounted a stirring comeback from two sets down to dump big-serving Zverev out of the tournament, winning 4-6, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3. Confronted with Zverev's relentless serve, the American looked to be heading home but engineered a crucial break in the third set the first time the German had been broken in the entire tournament changing the momentum of the match. "It was amazing to do that on Centre Court, two sets down in front of this crowd. It's a dream," said the American, who will face Italian 25th seed Lorenzo Musetti in the last eight. "The thing was I still felt I was playing really well for being down two sets. I was just thinking it sucked to be playing this well and to lose in straights." he added. 


Zverev, wearing a support on his left knee, said he was "on one leg today" as a result of an injury he picked up in his third-round win against Cameron Norrie. "It is nothing that I need surgery on," he added. "It is nothing that doesn't heal by itself. It just needs time." 


The 27-year-old, who was runner-up at the French Open last month, played down fears he would not be able to defend his Olympic title at the upcoming Paris Games. Svitolina wept on court after reaching the last eight for a third time with a 6-2, 6-1 win against China's Wang Xinyu in just 55 minutes. The 21st seed, wearing a black ribbon on her white shirt, was in action after Russia struck cities across Ukraine in missile attacks, killing 36 people and heavily damaging a Kyiv children's hospital, according to Ukrainian officials. "It's a very difficult day today for all Ukraine people," said the 29-year-old Svitolina. As she attempted to compose herself, she received a lengthy round of applause from spectators on Court Two. "It was not easy to focus on the match. Since this morning it has been very difficult to read the news and go on court." 


Svitolina will next play Russian-born Kazakh Elena Rybakina, who progressed when Anna Kalinskaya retired with the score at 6-3, 3-0. Australian ninth seed De Minaur, who won the 's-Hertogenbosch grass-court tournament last month, prevailed in four sets against France's Arthur Fils. Musetti ruined big-serving Frenchman Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard's 21st birthday by coming from a set down to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2. Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko beat Iga Swiatek's conqueror Yulia Putintseva 6-2, 6-3 and will next play the Czech Republic's Barbora Krejcikova, who beat 11th-seeded Danielle Collins in straight sets. 



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