London (AFP) – Novak Djokovic faces fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic for a place in the Wimbledon last 16 on Friday as John Isner targets becoming the sport’s king of aces.
Kecmanovic, 22, has lost both his previous two meetings against the man he describes as his “idol”.
However, with 2002 Wimbledon runner-up David Nalbandian in his coaching team, he is enjoying a breakout season.
Kecmanovic enjoyed career-best runs to the last 16 at the Australian Open and third round at Roland Garros.
He has also broken into the top 30 for the first time.
Djokovic, bidding to join Pete Sampras as a seven-time Wimbledon champion, is in the third round at the All England Club for the 16th time.
Second-round victim Thanasi Kokkinakis took just seven games off the 35-year-old.
“I got chopped,” was the Australian’s frank summary.
Isner may be 37 but his power on a grass-court remains undiminished.
The giant American has unleashed 90 aces in two rounds so far, including 36 in his defeat of two-time champion Andy Murray in the second round.
Isner, a semi-finalist in 2018, has 13,724 career aces to sit just four behind the all-time record held by Ivo Karlovic.
He faces Italian 10th seed Jannik Sinner for a place in the fourth round.
“It’s not going to put me in the Hall of Fame or anything like that, because that’s not me,” said Isner.
“But I will be the all-time leader. I’ll keep playing, keep adding to my total. I don’t know if it will get broken. I could be up there for a long time.”
At the other end of the age scale, Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz targets the last 16 for the first time when he faces Germany’s Oscar Otte.
Alcaraz needed five sets to see off Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round before sweeping past Tallan Griekspoor to make the last 32.
“I need more hours on court, on grass, to feel more comfortable,” said the 19-year-old.
Otte should be the fresher of the two.
He has dropped just five games in two rounds, helped by second-round opponent Christian Harrison retiring after just 15 minutes.
In the bottom section of Djokovic’s draw, only two seeds have survived.
British ninth seed Cameron Norrie faces Steve Johnson of the United States while US 30th seed Tommy Paul plays Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic.
Three of the top 10 women’s seeds — Anett Kontaveit, Danielle Collins and US Open champion Emma Raducanu — failed to make the last 32 from their half of the draw.
But two Grand Slam champions have survived.
Angelique Kerber, the 2018 Wimbledon champion and a semi-finalist last year, takes on Elise Mertens while 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko meets Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania.
Third seed Ons Jabeur, a quarter-finalist in 2021, faces 19-year-old Frenchwoman Diane Parry, who is making her Wimbledon debut.
Greek fifth seed Maria Sakkari tackles Germany’s Tatjana Maria, one of three mothers who started out in the tournament.
Sakkari is attempting to reach the last 16 for the first time.
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