Wimbledon | Djokovic recovers and wings it into the semi-finals

For a brief moment there, the defending champion’s reign at Wimbledon teetered on the brink of defeat as his young challenger stormed into a 2-sets to love lead on Centre Court in front of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

This court has inspired me, every time I step on it the love affair keeps going and hopefully, I can maintain that run Novak Djokovic

In what proved to be a Battle of Generations in several ways, with Novak Djokovc aiming to become the third 35-year-old (or older), to reach the semi-finals in the Open Era, while Yannick Sinner was hoping to be the youngest to reach that stage in the 21 (and younger) bracket since Djokovic himself in 2007!

In fact, the 14 year 86 day age difference between the pair is the third-largest age gap between players in a Wimbledon singles quarter final since 1968 with the greater experience and court familiarity, proved to be the vital difference which of course, favoured the top seed.

The pairs only previous meeting was at the Mont Carlo Masters last year (won by Djokovic) and he repeated that victory after three-hours and 35-minutes by recovering to sweep past the 20-year-old Italian 5-7 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-2.

But the had to work hard for Sinner, despite just scoring seven games in the final three sets, was always ready to pounce back if and when an opportunity arose. Unfortunately, it didn’t, as Djokovic produced a relentless series of winners and held firmly onto his serve.

There was no doubt that for the first two sets Sinner was the better player, a fact which Djokovic was to acknowledge in his on-court interview, but as he was to relate, he required a toilet break, some refreshment to re-invigorated himself.

And he certainly worked.

Once he got rolling with an early break in the third, there was an air of inevitability as we now well know, once the Djokovic steam roller builds up a head of steam and starts to roll not much can be done to stop it.

He slowly started to seize control of the set and then he also pocketed the fourth to level the match.


Novak Djokovic helps Jannik Sinner after he slipped and fell

Julian Finney/Getty Images

Late in the fourth Sinner took a nasty tumble chasing a drop shot, hurting his left ankle, which at first looked serious but the youngster chose to ignore it by not calling for a medical time out to get it strapped.

Dkokovic was now flying and imitated a bird in flight after he produced a miraculous backhand winner on the slide to earn a break in the seventh game which ended with him flat on his stomach!


Novak Djokovic imitates a bird

Shi Tang/Getty Images

“Huge congratulations for a big fight for Jannik, there’s going to be a lot of opportunities for him on the big stage He’s so mature for his age and he’s been established now — top 10, top 15 player for last few years. He’s got plenty of time and it was unfortunate for him today but a very good tournament,” a smiling and very satisfied Djokovic said on court.

“He was the better player for the first two sets, but I had a toilet break and a pep talk in the mirror – it’s true – sometimes these things are necessary. The toilet break was the turning point.”

He also implied he was human as well after winning his 26th consecutive match at Wimbledon to record the event’s fourth longest men’s winning streak.

It was also his 84th win at The Championships to place him second with Jimmy Connors in that particular win table led by Roger Federer!

“I go through the same doubtful moments as anyone else. The inner fight is the biggest fight you go through. I always believed I could turn the match around; I’ve done it a few times in grand slams. I’m just glad I’m through,” Djokovic continued after recovering from two set down at Wimbledon for a third time.

“This court has inspired me, every time I step on it the love affair keeps going and hopefully, I can maintain that run,” the Serbian revealed

“I was fortunate to start off the third set very well,” Djokovic continued. “I broke his serve early in the set and I think that gave me a confidence boost and I saw a little bit of doubt in his game, in his movement. And I guess the experience of playing on this stage for many, matches helped me a little bit, too, to deal and cope with the pressure.”

A 20-time Grand Slam winner, Djokovic is seeking his fourth straight Wimbledon championship and seventh overall. In the semi-final, he will face either Britain’s No.1 Cameron Norrie or David Goffin of Belgium.


Novak Djokovic (L) consoles Jannik Sinner after their quarter final clash

Shi Tang/Getty Image


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