LONDON — Christopher Eubanks, a 27-year-old American making his Wimbledon debut, reached the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time by stunning two-time major runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas 3-6, 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a little over three hours Monday.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic, meanwhile, was temporarily knocked off course by big-serving Hubert Hurkacz but quickly got back in the groove on Monday to reach the quarterfinals.
Having edged two tiebreaks late on Sunday before being beaten by the tournament’s strict 11 p.m. curfew, Djokovic returned to lose his first set of the tournament before sealing a 7-6 (6), 7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-4 victory.
The 43rd-ranked Eubanks, who is from Atlanta and played college tennis at Georgia Tech, is on quite a roll right now on grass courts, a surface he said he hated just a month ago. But he won his first career ATP title at a tuneup event in Mallorca, Spain, the week before Wimbledon and now added his upset of the No. 5-seeded Tsitsipas to an earlier victory over No. 12 Cameron Norrie at the All England Club.
“I feel like I’m living a dream right now. This is absolutely insane, when you paint all of the context. I’ve tried so much to block everything out and just focus on the next match — as cliché as it sounds — but … it’s surreal,” Eubanks told the crowd during an on-court interview. “It’s unbelievable. I can’t believe this.”
Eubanks will carry a nine-match winning streak into his contest against No. 3 Daniil Medvedev for a berth in the semifinals. Medvedev, of Russia, reached the quarterfinals for the first time when his fourth-round opponent, Jiri Lehecka, retired injured after losing the first two sets 6-4, 6-2. Lehecka, 21, who had played a four-hour five-set match against Tommy Paul in the last round, took a timeout after the first set while a trainer treated blisters on his right foot.
This is just the ninth major tournament for Eubanks, who never previously had been past the second round of a Grand Slam tournament.
Djokovic, 36, was not at his best as Hurkacz, of Poland, briefly threatened a comeback. But as he so often does, the record 23-time Grand Slam men’s champion found a solution.
He has matched Jimmy Connors for the second-most Wimbledon quarterfinals reached and will face Russia’s seventh seed Andrey Rublev on Wednesday.
Remarkably, Djokovic has now reached 56 Grand Slam quarterfinals, second behind only Roger Federer.
With wind swirling around Centre Court, Djokovic struggled for his usual rhythm and dropped serve for the first time in the match to hand over the third set.
The second seed looked uncomfortable for a while against the 17th seed, who ended Federer’s Wimbledon career two years ago.
But Djokovic, of Serbia, pounced to finally the break the Hurkacz serve for the first time at 3-3 in the fourth — having seen seven previous break points snatched away.
From then on it was straightforward as Djokovic quickly wrapped things up in clinical fashion.
“He put up a great performance,” a relieved Djokovic said on court after keeping his bid for a fifth successive Wimbledon title and eighth in all.
“Honestly, I don’t recall the last time I felt this miserable on returning games to be honest, because of his incredibly accurate and powerful serve. I mean he’s got one of the best serves in the world and it’s so difficult to read it.”
Wimbledon has been Medvedev’s least successful Grand Slam tournament. The former world No. 1 has reached four finals, winning the US Open in 2021.
He did not play at Wimbledon last year because of the ban on Russian competitors following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.