British number one Kyle Edmund is out of Wimbledon after three-time champion Novak Djokovic fought back to win their third-round match.
Serbian Djokovic, seeded 12th, regained control after 23-year-old Edmund made an encouraging start, going on to win 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 on Centre Court.
The 21st seed’s exit means there are no British players left in the singles.
Former world number one Djokovic, 31, will play Russian Karen Khachanov in the last 16 on Monday.
“I would have, looking back on it, liked to have been a little bit more aggressive at stages,” Edmund said.
“But it’s easier said than done when you’re in rallies. Today was reasonably good.”
Roaring into contention.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 7, 2018
Edmund had only won one main-draw match at Wimbledon going into this year’s tournament, but carried the nation’s hopes in the men’s draw after Andy Murray pulled out on the eve of the tournament.
Two routine wins over qualifiers Alex Bolt and Bradley Klahn – players ranked outside the top 150 – raised hopes he could cause a shock against Djokovic.
The Yorkshireman earned his maiden win over Djokovic at the Madrid Open in May, victory which he said would give him belief when they met again in SW19.
However, that win was on the clay and over three sets – this match proved a different proposition as Djokovic showed he remains one of the biggest threats in the draw.
It is the first time since 2007 a British singles player has not made the second week at Wimbledon.
“I thought it was a high-quality tennis match,” said Djokovic.
“It was very, very, very intense. Just a couple points here and there.”
Edmund unable to ride English wave
The match was scheduled third on Centre Court on Saturday in an attempt to avoid a direct clash with England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden.
And the players walked out on to Centre – which had a sparse crowd watching the preceding match between Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka – just moments after England wrapped up victory.
There were still a few empty seats as play started, but those who had returned created a buzz which they hoped could help Edmund make a fast start.
It did not materialise immediately as his serve came under pressure in the second game.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 7, 2018
Edmund saved two break points after edging a baseline rally and a forehand volley, going on to seal what proved to be a significant hold.
With the energy of the crowd behind him, a pumped up Edmund picked up the pace and began to hurt Djokovic with ferocious forehands.
His trademark shot and biggest weapon enabled him to take the first break of the match at the fourth attempt for a 4-2 lead, going on to serve out the opener.
However, the buoyancy of the crowd – no doubt boosted by England’s victory in the football – started to fade as Djokovic fought back.
Djokovic switches on to silence crowd
Djokovic has dropped down the rankings after spending six months out with an elbow injury and struggling to regain his consistency in recent months.
The 12-time Grand Slam winner has lost the aura of invincibility that surrounded him at his peak, at times seemingly lacking the focus which enabled him to win the biggest prizes.
It was evident in the opening set, particularly when the Serb pumped an easy forehand long when he threatened to break straight back.
His body language – angrily shouting at the court and often looking discouraged – as the opening set moved towards a conclusion was also stark.
However, something switched for the Serb in the second set.
Djokovic missed two more break points in Edmund’s first service game, but continued to apply all the pressure.
Eventually it told when Edmund coughed up a damaging double fault on Djokovic’s fourth break point of the eighth game, leaving his opponent to serve out for the set.
Edmund had lost the intensity he started with, his unforced error count creeping up as Djokovic broke in the opening game of the third set and then again for a 5-2 lead which he closed out.
The fourth set was another hard-fought battle, Edmund saving four break points in a dramatic seventh game – where he got away with a double bounce before hitting a winner.
It did not prove pivotal as Djokovic went on to break in Edmund’s next service game, clinching the match with an ace to win in two hours and 53 minutes.
‘Guys were coughing and whistling at me’
Djokovic – who had blown kisses to the crowd after they cheered a time violation given to him and then booed him – roared with delight in a wild celebration after reaching the last 16
“It was a Davis Cup-like atmosphere. I expected them to support Kyle, obviously. But at times they were slightly unfair to me,” he said.
“I got time violation deservedly because I took more time. I thought the crowd’s reaction after that was quite unnecessary.
“A couple guys really, you know, pretending they were coughing and whistling while I was bouncing the ball more or less to the end of the match at that end where I received the time violation.
“That’s what I didn’t like.”