For the third time at Wimbledon Novak Djokovic had to rally from two sets down to stay alive. The world No. 1 busted out to a 4-1 lead against Jannik Sinner in their Wimbledon quarterfinal today. Sinner, though, would seize control and storm back to take the first, grab and early break to take the second and go up two sets on a stunned Centre Court.
Djokovic would leave the court only to return a new man. A couple misses by the Italian opened the door for Djokovic and he 6-time champion took advantage. Djokovic wouldn’t face any threat from there rolling to a 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win in 3 hours, 35 minutes.
“As for the first two sets, comparing to the last three, we probably had two different matches,” Djokovic said. “He was the better player for two sets.
“Then I went out and had a toilet break and a little pep talk in the mirror – it’s actually true – and sometimes in these situations when things are not happening positively for you, these things are necessary. A little break, a little pep talk, try to regather the thoughts and come at your opponent with the best possible game.”
Djokovic has now won his last 26 matches on grass and now is just six sets from a fourth straight Wimbledon title.
“Happiness, love, fulfilment, pride, everything on this court,” said Djokovic on court. “I love it. I think the majority of the players would agree this is the biggest tennis tournament in the history of our game, so this court is the most important one, definitely in my career and my life.
“This court inspired me to take the tennis racquet in my hand for the first time when I was five. Every single time I step on this court, the love affair keeps growing, so hopefully I can maintain that run.”
The 20-year-old Sinner falls to 0-13 against Top 5 players.
On Friday, Djokovic will take on British No. 1 Cameron Norrie. Norrie also went the distance edging out Belgian No. 1 David Goffin 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 in 3 hours, 28 minutes.
“Just winning a match like this, I’m in shock. I don’t know what to say now,” Norrie told the crowd after. “But just straight flashbacks to all the hard work, all the preseasons and all the sacrifices I’ve had to make. So it definitely pays off and it feels pretty good.”
Goffin, who was also looking for a first Slam semifinal, dropped serve at love at 5-all in the fifth and to the thrill of his home fans, the 26-year-old Norrie was able to finish the job.
“It just wasn’t going my way from the beginning. Wasn’t feeling good and feeling the ball. That was all credit to David. He was moving me, playing really good and I couldn’t find my game,” Norrie added. “Then thanks to you guys, I managed to stay as patient as I could and it was all just adrenaline and just used my legs at the end and tried to put the ball in the court. It’s great to get over the line.”
Norrie had never been past a Grand Slam third round before, now becomes the fourth British man in the Open Era to make the Wimbledon semifinals.
“It’s great to get this, but it only gets tougher. I’m going to come out, I’m going to enjoy that and take it to him,” Norrie said. “Hopefully you guys can get behind me again. I’m sure you will… Looking forward to it. Can’t enjoy it too much now, just get ready for Novak in a couple of days.”
Djokovic cruised past Norrie at the ATP Finals last year.
Tomorrow, Rafael Nadal returns to take on Taylor Fritz in a rematch of their Indian Wells final won by the American.
On Court 1, the Nick Kyrgios show resumes as he meets Chilean Cristian Garin. If Nadal and Kyrgios win, they’ll meet Friday in the semifinals.
WEDNESDAY WIMBLEDON SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT – 1:30PM
1. Simona Halep v Amanda Anisimova
2. Taylor Fritz v Rafael Nadal
NO.1 COURT – 1:00PM
1. Ajla Tomljanovic v Elena Rybakina
2. Cristian Garin v Nick Kyrgios
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