Czech set stalls Djokovic advance

19:07, Jun 29 2012
Wimbledon 2012
Tents are put up as tennis fans camp over night during previews for the Wimbledon Championships.
Wimbledon 2012
Rafael Nadal of Spain serves in a practice session.
Wimbledon 2012
Andy Murray of Great Britain in a practice session.
Wimbledon 2012
Petra Kvitova talks to the media during a pre-tournament press conference at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon.
Wimbledon 2012
Novak Djokovic talks to the media during a pre-tournament press conference at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon.
Wimbledon 2012
Petra Kvitova arrives at the WTA Tour Pre-Wimbledon Party at The Roof Gardens.
Wimbledon 2012
Elena Vesnina arrives at the WTA Tour Pre-Wimbledon Party at The Roof Gardens.
Wimbledon 2012
Li Na arrives at the WTA Tour Pre-Wimbledon Party at The Roof Gardens.
Wimbledon 2012
Caroline Wozniacki arrives at the WTA Tour Pre-Wimbledon Party at The Roof Gardens.
Wimbledon 2012
Maria Sharapova arrives at the WTA Tour Pre-Wimbledon Party at The Roof Gardens.
Wimbledon 2012
Ana Ivanovic arrives at the WTA Tour Pre-Wimbledon Party at The Roof Gardens.
Wimbledon 2012
Venus Williams (L) and Serena Williams (R) arrive at the WTA Tour Pre-Wimbledon Party at The Roof Gardens.
Wimbledon 2012
Roger Federer of Switzerland bounces a football at the practice courts at Wimbledon.
Wimbledon 2012
Heather Watson of Britain hits a return to Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic during their women's singles tennis match.
Wimbledon 2012
Ernests Gulbis of Latvia celebrates after defeating Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in their men's singles tennis match.
Wimbledon 2012
Kim Clijsters of Belgium celebrates winning her women's singles tennis match against Jelena Jankovic of Serbia.
Wimbledon 2012
Ernests Gulbis of Latvia hits a return to Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic during their men's singles tennis match.
Wimbledon 2012
A general view of Court 2.
Wimbledon 2012
Naomi Broady of Great Britain hits a forehand return during her women's singles first round match against Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain.
Wimbledon 2012
Venus Williams of the US hits a return to Elena Vesnina of Russia during their women's singles tennis match.
Wimbledon 2012
Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return to Albert Ramos of Spain during their men's singles tennis match.
Wimbledon 2012
Matosevic of Australia serves the ball during his men's singles first round match against Xavier Malisse of Belgium.
Wimbledon 2012
Anne Keothavong of Great Britain returns a shot her Ladies Singles first round match against Laura Pous-Tio of Spain.
Wimbledon 2012
Ashleigh Barty of Australia serves during her Ladies Singles first round match against Roberta Vinci of Italy.
Wimbledon 2012
Andy Roddick of the USA reacts to a play during his Gentlemens Singles first round match against Jamie Baker of Great Britain.
Wimbledon 2012
Urszula Radwanska of Poland in action during her ladies singles first round loss to New Zealand's Marina Erakovic.
Wimbledon 2012
Jamie Baker returns a shot returns a shot during his Gentlemens Singles first round match against Andy Roddick of the USA.
Wimbledon 2012
Robin Haase of the The Netherlands in action during his Gentlemens Singles first round match against Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina.
Wimbledon 2012
Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a return to Ryan Harrison of the US.
Wimbledon 2012
Sorana Cirstea of Romania celebrates after defeating Li Na of China.
Wimbledon 2012
Maria Sharapovaof Russia serves to Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria.
Wimbledon 2012
Sorana Cirstea of Romania celebrates after defeating Li Na of China.
Wimbledon 2012
Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic reaches to hit a return to Kim Clijsters of Belgium.
Wimbledon 2012
Tamira Paszek of Austria celebrates after winning the second set in her womens singles tennis match against Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark.
Wimbledon 2012
Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return to Fabio Fognini of Italy.
Wimbledon 2012
Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall sit on Centre Court.
Wimbledon
Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic unleashes a serve during his second round win over Rafa Nadal.
Wimbledon
Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic celebrates his win over Rafael Nadal in the second round.
Wimbledon
A security guard stands on Centre Court as the roof is closed.
Wimbledon
A ballboy crouches near the net on Court One.
Novak Djokovic
Novac Djokovic hits a return to Radek Stepanek in a third round match at Wimbledon.
Roger Federer
Roger Federer serves to Julien Benneteau of France during his third round match at Wimbledon.
Janko Tipsarevic
Serbian tennis player Janko Tipsarevic hits a return to Mikhail Youzhny during their third round match at Wimbledon.
Roger Federer
Roger Federer returns the ball during his fourth round match against Xavier Malisse.
Roger Federer
Sabine Lisicki of Germany celebrates after her fourth round match against Maria Sharapova of Russia.
Roger Federer
Serena Williams hits a backhand return during her fourth round match against Yaroslava Shvedova.
Roger Federer
Roger Federer of Switzerland recieves medical attention during his fourth round match against Xavier Malisse of Belgium.
Roger Federer
Viktor Troicki of Serbia slips during his men's singles tennis match against Novak Djokovic.
Roger Federer
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus hands to a ball boy feathers that she picked up from the court during her match against Ana Ivanovic.
Wimbledon
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France checks on a line judge hit by the ball from a serve by Mardy Fish.
Wimbledon
Spectators shield themselves from the rain showers on day seven of Wimbledon.
Wimbledon 2012
Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland lines up a shot during her Ladies' Singles quarterfinal match against Maria Kirilenko of Russia.
Wimbledon 2012
Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra of France in action during their Gentlemen's Doubles third round match against Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan of the USA.
Wimbledon 2012
A general view of umpires on day eight.
Wimbledon 2012
Sabine Lisicki of Germany returns a shot during her Ladies' Singles quarterfinal match against Angelique Kerber of Germany
Wimbledon 2012
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France celebrates after winning his Gentlemen's Singles fourth round match against Mardy Fish of the USA.
Wimbledon 2012
Serena Williams of the USA celebrates after winning her Ladies' Singles quarterfinal match against Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic.
Wimbledon 2012
Mardy Fish of the USA reaches for a shot during his Gentlemen's Singles fourth round match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France.
Wimbledon 2012
A general view of atmosphere on day eight.
Wimbledon 2012
David Ferrer of Spain in action during his Gentlemen's Singles fourth round match against Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina.
Wimbledon 2012
Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates winning his Gentlemen's Singles fourth round match against Marin Cilic of Croatia.
Wimbledon 2012
Ipek Soylu of Turkey in action during her Girls' Singles first round match against Maria Ines Deheza of Bolivia.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray waits during a change in ends during his quarterfinal against David Ferrer.
Prince William
Prince William (right) shakes hands with former Wimbledon winner Rod Laver as he exits the arena.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray gets airborne as he serves during his victory over David Ferrer.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
An ecstatic Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France leaps in the air after his win over Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Philipp Kohlschreiber
Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber regroups after his defeat to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Serena and Venus Williams
Venus and Serena Williams (foreground) walk off court after their doubles victory against Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova.
Wimbledon 2012
Briton Andy Murray (R) shows no sign of the weight of expectation on him as he shares a joke with coach Ivan Lendl at a practice session.
Wimbledon 2012
Agnieszka Radwanska wins match point against Angelique Kerber to qualify for the Wimbledon final.
Wimbledon 2012
Agnieszka Radwanska (R) consoles beaten opponent Angelique Kerber following their Wimbledon semi-final.
Wimbledon 2012
Serena Williams reacts after beating Victoria Azarenka to qualify for her seventh Wimbledon final.
Wimbledon 2012
Serena Williams in happy spirits during her semi-final defeat of Victoria Azarenka.
Wimbledon 2012
Serena Williams in happy spirits during her semi-final defeat of Victoria Azarenka.
Roger Federer
Roger Federer celebrates his semi-final win over Novak Djokovic.
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic returns serve during his semi-final against Roger Federer.
Novak Djokovic Roger Federer.
Novak Djokovic congratulates Roger Federer after their semi-final.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray slips during his semi-final against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray celebrates reaching the Wimbledon final.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga serves to Andy Murray during their semi-final.
Williams sisters
Serena and Venus Williams celebrate a point during their doubles semi-final win.
Agnieszka Radwanska
Agnieszka Radwanska stretches for the ball during the women's final.
Serena Williams
Serena Williams is all smiles after winning her fifth Wimbledon title.
Serena Williams
Serena Williams collapses on the grass after beating Agnieszka Radwanska in the women's final.
Serena Williams Agnieszka Radwanska
Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska walk onto centre court for the women's final.
Serena Williams
Serena Williams slips on her way to net.
Serena and Venus Williams
Serena and Venus Williams celebrate after winning the Wimbledon doubles final.
Wimbledon 2012 final
Roger Federer salutes the Wimbledon crowd after being presented with his trophy.
Wimbledon 2012 final
Roger Federer kisses the Wimbledon trophy for the seventh time after beating Andy Murray in the men's final in London.
Wimbledon 2012 final
Champion Roger Federer (L) poses with beaten finalist Andy Murray after their singles battle on centre court.
Wimbledon 2012 final
Residents of Scottish town Dunblane, the home of Andy Murray, get excited during the Wimbledon men's singles final.
Wimbledon 2012 final
Roger Federer collapses on centre court after winning match point against Andy Murray.
Wimbledon 2012 final
Andy Murray disputes a point during his Wimbledon final loss to Roger Federer.
Wimbledon 2012 final
Roger Federer steps up to receive the Wimbledon trophy as beaten opponent Andy Murray walks away.

Novak Djokovic is tough to beat at Wimbledon, indoors or out.

Playing the day's first Centre Court match Friday under the retractable roof, defending champion Djokovic rallied past Radek Stepanek 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.

When drizzle delayed the start of the third round, tournament officials decided Djokovic's match should be played inside. An odd spectacle ensued: The roof closed as the sun came out and outside court covers came off.

Djokovic
ON TRACK: There was no hiccup for Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon overnight, with him beating Czech player Radek Stepanek in four sets.

"I was a little bit surprised, when I saw sunshine, that the roof is closed," Djokovic said.

"Obviously they're relying on a forecast that I don't think is very reliable here. But okay."

The number one ranked Djokovic missed opportunities to seize an early lead, failing to convert his first five break-point chances before he lost serve at love to drop the opening set. But he dominated from there, breaking in the first game in each of the final three sets.

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Also advancing to the second week was top-ranked Maria Sharapova. She rallied from a break down in the second set to beat Hsieh Su-wei 6-1, 6-4.

Kim Clijsters led 6-3, 4-3 when number 12 Vera Zvonareva retired struggling with a cough.

The unseeded Clijsters, who plans to retire after the US Open, is a four-time Grand Slam winner seeking her first berth in a Wimbledon final.

"It's a pleasure to be a part of the second week of a Grand Slam, especially at Wimbledon," she said.

Number three Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Britain's Heather Watson under the roof, 6-0, 6-2.

Djokovic has the weekend off and said he might squeeze in a round of golf.

His fourth-round opponent will be 34th-ranked Viktor Troicki in an all-Serbian match. Troicki beat number 15 seeded Juan Monaco 7-5, 7-5, 6-3.

Fans were still buzzing about Rafael Nadal's second-round defeat, which ended under the roof Thursday night, when Djokovic stepped onto the same court. His slow start briefly stirred speculation about another upset.

"I was a set down, but managed to make the crucial break in the opening game of the second set," Djokovic said. "And then I thought I played really well."

Stepanek, at 33 the oldest man left in the tournament, repeatedly played serve and volley and had Djokovic on his heels in the early going. Djokovic hit an improbable winner that skipped off the top of the net post and still lost the first set.

Then the match quickly swung his way, and the 28th-seeded Stepanek couldn't compete with Djokovic's mistake-free play. The Serb committed just 13 unforced errors in 221 points.

The match remained entertaining even as it became lopsided. One game in the final set lasted 26 points and had Djokovic smiling at Stepanek's unconventional style, which included a belly flop in pursuit of a shot.

"The fourth set from Novak's side was very impressive," Stepanek said.

"I was battling until the end, but the fourth set I felt like no matter what I do on the court, he always answers."

The victory made it two in row under the roof for Djokovic.

"I thought I played great," he said. "But, look, this is an outdoor tournament, so I think everybody wants to play when the roof is open."

Perhaps not Sharapova - she was outdoors struggling with her serve on windy Court One and sent one shot over the net on the bounce for a double-fault.

Has she done that before?

"I'm sure I have," she said. "A lot in practice."

The misfire came on break point and put her behind 2-3 in the second set. She rallied by sweeping the final four games.

Sharapova finished with five double-faults but committed only seven unforced errors on her groundstrokes.

"Considering the conditions, I'm pretty happy with the way I played," she said.

Sharapova won the French Open this month to complete a career Grand Slam title. She won Wimbledon at age 17 in 2004 and has reached the final at three of the past four majors.

The half of the men's draw opposite Djokovic opened up when two-time champion Nadal lost to number 100 ranked Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic, 6-7 (9), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

Nadal had reached the past five Grand Slam finals and won his seventh French Open title this month. He also had reached the final in his past five Wimbledons, winning the title in 2008 and 2010.

His departure creates an opportunity for three-time Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick and Andy Murray, who seeks to become the tournament's first British champion since 1936. Both are on Nadal's side of the draw.

AP