Norrie finds form to stun British number one Draper

In May, Fearnley finished his university studies in the United States. Six weeks later, he was trying to beat one of the greatest players of all time on the world’s most iconic tennis court.

Making his main-draw debut at the All England Club, the world number 277 showcased his talent and caused serious problems for the 24-time Grand Slam champion.

Fearnley was two points away from taking the match into a deciding set before 37-year-old Djokovic came through.

It was an impressive performance from the British number 13, who deservedly received a standing ovation which Djokovic joined in with.

“I hadn’t had a chance to see him play until two days ago, there is always an element of surprise and nothing for him to lose,” said Djokovic, who will face Australian world number 46 Alexei Popyrin next.

“He served very well, it was hard to break his serve and he made me work.”

Ranked outside the world’s top 500 last month, Fearnley won the Nottingham Open for his first title on the ATP Challenger Tour and was given a wildcard for the Wimbledon main draw as a result.

Against Djokovic, Fearnley confidently held his opening three service games in the first two sets, and created a break point at 2-1 up in the second, before being worn down by his opponent’s relentless returning.

Fearnley lost serve at 2-2 in the third set and Djokovic’s passionate celebration was a sign of how much he was being pushed.

However, Fearnley refused to be disheartened. He broke straight back for 3-3, saved two more break points for a 5-4 lead, then pinched the set with another break to the delight of the jubilant home fans.

Fearnley continued to play calmly and fearlessly and, at 4-5 and 15-30 in the fourth set, was two points away from levelling the match.

But Djokovic found his first serve just when it mattered to hang on and, after Fearnley blinked with a double fault on break point at 5-5, moved into the last 32 without needing to go the distance.

“Can I be playing better and moving better? Absolutely. I hope as the tournament progresses I’ll be feeling much better,” said Djokovic.


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