Djokovic’s 10-game run tops Goffin in Wimbledon quarterfinal

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WIMBLEDON, England (AP) Novak Djokovic took what was shaping up as an entertaining, well-played matchup in the Wimbledon quarterfinals and quickly turned it into a lopsided romp with a 10-game run.

Down an early break, the defending champion grabbed control midway through the opening set Wednesday and never let go, overwhelming the 21st-seeded David Goffin 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 to reach his ninth semifinal at the All England Club.

“Obviously things could have gone a different way,” Djokovic said. “Who knows what the match would look like if I lost the first set?”

The No. 1-seeded Djokovic will face No. 23 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain or No. 26 Guido Pella of Argentina on Friday.

Djokovic is seeking his fifth Wimbledon championship and 17th Grand Slam trophy overall.

WIMBLEDON: Scores | Men’s Draw | Women’s Draw

The quarterfinals on the other side of the draw were scheduled for later Wednesday: No. 2 seed Roger Federer vs. No. 8 Kei Nishikori, and No. 3 Rafael Nadal vs. unseeded Sam Querrey.

If Federer and Nadal both won, their semifinal meeting would be the first match between them at Wimbledon since the 2008 final.

The 21st-seeded Goffin started well enough against Djokovic at Centre Court on an afternoon that was humid and sunny but not too hot, with the temperature in the mid-70s (mid-20s C).

Hoping to reach his first major semifinal, Goffin claimed three of the first four points that lasted at least 10 strokes. He won the pair’s most recent encounter, on clay in 2017, and this looked a bit like it was being contested on that slower surface, too.

Goffin was able to hang in there at the baseline and his on-the-run passing shots were dialed in. He nosed ahead after 33 minutes by breaking to go up 4-3, then jogged to the sideline with a raised fist.

Until then, Goffin was playing crisply and cleanly. He hadn’t faced so much as one break point against Djokovic, generally considered the top returner in the game.

“He was dictating the play from the baseline,” Djokovic said afterward. “Most of the rallies went his way.”

But that’s when everything changed.

Djokovic did to Goffin exactly what he does to so many opponents on so many surfaces and at so many tournaments: He takes their best shot, deals with it and then wears them down.

Serving at 30-love in the very next game, Goffin double-faulted. Then he flubbed a forehand. After limiting himself to three unforced errors through the match’s initial 49 points, the Belgian made two in a row. The next point was an odd one involving a late line call and a challenge by Goffin, who lost it and faced his first break point.

Djokovic couldn’t convert that one, but moments later, Goffin sent a forehand wide to set up a second. This time, Djokovic ended a 20-stroke exchange with a drop volley winner. And soon enough, he was on his way, sliding or doing the splits along the baseline to get to balls few others would, bending his body this way and that to repeatedly force Goffin to hit an extra shot.

It’s a dispiriting brand of tennis, and it was too much for Goffin. He would wind up going about 50 minutes until he managed to win another game.

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

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Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

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British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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