Novak Djokovic first stepped on to Centre Court at 1.45pm and did not finish his fourth-round match against Tim van Rijthoven until almost 11pm after what must go down as a Wimbledon scheduling miscalculation.

The top seed and six-time winner joined a parade of former Wimbledon champions alongside the likes of Rod Laver, Billie Jean King, Bjorn Borg, Andy Murray and Roger Federer to celebrate Centre Court’s centenary before play commenced.

However, the decision to begin the ceremony at 1.30pm in the afternoon meant Djokovic only finally began his match at 8pm.

The 20-time grand slam champion was therefore in a hurry, but after racing through the first set Dutch dark horse Van Rijthoven took the second at 9.45pm.

However, Djokovic put his foot down to make sure he narrowly beat Wimbledon’s 11pm curfew by 21 minutes, meaning he did not have to come back on Monday to finish the match, running out a 6-2 4-6 6-1 6-2 winner.

Clearly the late finish was not ideal for the 35-year-old, as he pointedly thanked the crowd, and fellow six-time singles champion King, for seeing the match through.

"Thanks for staying for this late finish to watch tennis. Thank you Billie Jean for staying, I know it’s been a long day," he said.

"Under the roof it takes a bit of time to get used to the conditions, but I finished the match well.

"I don’t know if there was a curfew. There is? Phew! I am lucky, thank God."

Jannik Sinner progressed into the Wimbledon quarter-finals after he proved too hot to handle for Carlos Alcaraz in a meeting between two of the biggest prospects in the sport.

A breathless start by the Italian saw him grab the initiative and only briefly let it slip against the 19-year-old, who eventually hit his straps but could never find the level that saw him make the last eight at the US Open and Roland Garros in the past year.

Sinner, 20, had never won at the All England Club before this summer but took his sixth match point to claim a 6-1 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 success in three hours and 35 minutes to set up a dual with Djokovic.

This was only their third battle at ATP level and the Spaniard held the upper hand at the start of what could be a rivalry destined to dominate the next decade of tennis.

A stunning forehand winner from Alcaraz started proceedings and appeared to show his intent but his fellow Next Gen champion soon started to dictate.

Sinner had to fight hard to hold his first two service games and then seized the moment on his Centre Court debut when his impressive return could only be netted by Alcaraz to hand the Italian an early break.

Fifth seed Alcaraz was also playing on Wimbledon's biggest stage for the first time and looked out of sorts, with a slip and double fault allowing his Italian rival to take the opener, which was sealed with the first ace of the clash.

An unexpected period of 40 minutes would pass before the teenager ended Sinner’s run of seven games in a row with a rocket serve of his own.

Even though Alcaraz was gradually moving through the gears, world number 13 Sinner was still calling the shots and moved two sets ahead following another unforced error by his opponent.

The chances of this going the distance looked to be remote when Sinner created three break points at the beginning of the third, but Alcaraz produced a brilliant blitz of five points, started by a sensational drop shot and ended with a wonderfully executed serve-and-volley, which saw the world number seven clinch a big hold.

The pair went blow to blow with a couple of bullet forehand and backhand winners from Sinner followed by a phenomenal seventh game of the third set.

One of several exchanges at the net saw Sinner dive and slide on to the grass but fail to make his shot, which Alcaraz reacted to by giving his self-confessed friend a fist bump.

After two lengthy games went to deuce, it was no surprise a tie-breaker was required and the next 15 minutes saw a rollercoaster ride for everyone.

Three set points came and went for Alcaraz, largely thanks to two rockets off the forehand of Sinner, who then squandered two match points.

A masterful drop shot from the Spanish star on the run created a fourth set point and this was gratefully taken to spark an eruption of noise from those in attendance.

Nobody was ready for this to end and Sinner’s disappointment would have been huge as his rival accepted the adulation on offer at the All England Club, but he showed impressive powers of resolve to save two break points at the start of the fourth.

The 20-year-old looked jaded when Alcaraz scampered across the baseline to force another deuce with a winner down the line.

Sinner would hold though just as the match clock hit three hours and suddenly the physicality of the last-16 tie hit both.

A badly-timed double fault by Alcaraz helped give away a break and the 13th best player in the world did the same in the following game.

But Sinner dug deep from 0-40 down and an overhead smash was backed up by another classy backhand winner to ensure a huge hold.

He did let three more match points go to waste but one final huge forehand could not be returned as the youngster from Italy made the last eight of a grand slam for a third time.

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Belgian David Goffin edged American 23rd seed Frances Tiafoe in a five-set thriller to match his 2019 quarter-final appearance at Wimbledon when he last played in the tournament.

The former world number seven fell to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in 2019 but after a injury-hit last season on tour has returned to the last-eight stage again to match his best performance at the majors.

Now ranked 58th in the world, Goffin outlasted Tiafoe 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 5-7 6-4 7-5 in an absorbing contest on Court One that lasted four hours 36 minutes.

Goffin came into the fourth-round contest against Tiafoe with a 4-1 head-to-head advantage, the last of them in the second round of Roland Garros this year when the Belgian won in four sets.

Both players broke each other's serve six times during a topsy-turvy contest, with the 31-year-old Goffin doing better on the unforced errors count than his opponent.

Goffin got the decisive break in the 12th game of the fifth set to seal the fate of the match.

The Belgian will face Cameron Norrie, who kept the British flag flying in the singles by defeating Tommy Paul to reach the first grand slam quarter-final of his career.

The ninth seed had eased past another American, Steve Johnson, in the third round and he built on that with another excellent performance on Court One, beating 30th seed Paul 6-4 7-5 6-4.

Norrie is known for his consistency and relentless athleticism, but his forehand was the key weapon here from the moment he drilled a pass down the line on the first point.

Paul, also looking to reach his first slam quarter-final, will probably have nightmares about that shot, with Norrie using it time and again to take control in rallies.

Paul was facing a fourth consecutive left-handed opponent and had chosen Norrie as his practice partner to prepare for the previous three, so the 26-year-old’s game would not have come as a surprise.

Finding an answer, though, was another matter. Paul forced four break points in the sixth game but each time Norrie was rock solid, and that proved to be the American’s only chance to draw level in the opening set.

The second set followed a similar pattern until Norrie displayed his first signs of tension, failing to serve it out at 5-4.

It was Paul’s chance to really put his opponent under pressure but instead he played his worst service game of the match to give Norrie another opportunity, and this time he made no mistake.

The sort of tension in the crowd that often accompanies a British player at Wimbledon was absent, with Norrie appearing in complete control, and another early break in the third was enough to send him through to the last eight in style.

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