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Back from the Brink – Djokovic rallies from two sets down against Sinner to reach 11th Wimbledon semi-final

Novak Djokovic overhauled Jannik Sinner 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 on Tuesday. He’ll play No 9 seed Cameron Norrie in the next round

Wimbledon 2022 Novak Djokovic Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 5, 2022 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his quarter final match against Italy’s Jannik Sinner || AI / Reuters / Panoramic

When faced with a two-set deficit in his quarter-final against Jannik Sinner on Tuesday at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic did what he always does: battle back defiantly. 

The six-time Wimbledon champion turned on the jets in set three and never looked back as he notched a 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 triumph over the Italian to notch his 26th consecutive Wimbledon victory and reach his 11th semi-final at the All England Club. 

Djokovic : “I always believed”

Djokovic said that a self-administered pep talk after the second set helped him turn the match around. After squandering a three-love lead in the opening set he was flat in the second. But after he took some time off the court before the third set he took over the match.

“As for the first two sets, I think comparing to the last three, we had probably two different matches. He was the better better player for two sets,” Djokovic said. “I went out, had a little bit of refreshment, toilet break, and a little pep talk in the mirror.”

I went out, had a little bit of refreshment, toilet break, and a little pep talk in the mirror

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic’s belief kicked in for set three – the Serb did not surrender a break of serve in the final three sets, and he saved the only two break points he faced in set four.

“I always believed that I could turn the match around,” Djokovic said. “I’ve done that quite a few times in the Grand Slams when I have been two sets to love down. And again, maybe it’s the experience, maybe it’s a toilet break. Maybe it’s everything combined. But I’m just glad I’m through.”

Props to Sinner and his bright future

Djokovic gave praise to 20-year-old Sinner, telling the crowd that the Italian, who is the first ATP player to reach three Grand Slam quarterfinals before turning 21 since Juan Martin Del Potro in 2008, has a bright future.

“First of all, I must say a huge congratulation for a big fight today for Jannik, and I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of opportunities for him on the big stage,” Djokovic said. “He’s so mature for his age. I mean, he’s been established now [as a] 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 and I wish him best of luck for the rest of the year.”

Novak Djokovic
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic acknowledges the crowd after winning his third round match against Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

A five-set maven

For the seventh time in his career, and the third time at Wimbledon, Djokovic has rallied from two sets down to victory, as he improves to 10-1 lifetime in deciding sets at Wimbledon. 

It won’t go down as his most famous Wimbledon five-setter. The man who saved championship points to defeat Roger Federer in the 2019 final and who defeated Rafael Nadal 10–8 in the fifth set of their epic 2018 semi-final has had quite a few monumental triumphs at SW19, but the victory does serve as an important step closer to a seventh Wimbledon title and a 21st major title for the Serbian legend. 

Djokovic improves to 37-10 lifetime in five-setters.

The hunt for a seventh Wimbledon title continues

Kept from the Grand Slam podium since Wimbledon 2021, Djokovic hopes to reassert himself on the Grand Slam stage this week in London, and if he is successful he can close the game between himself and 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, his potential opponent in the final, to one Grand Slam title.

Djokovic moves on to face Cameron Norrie in the semi-finals, as he improves to 84-10 lifetime at Wimbledon, where he has tied Jimmy Connors for second on the all-time men’s singles win list. Only Roger Federer (105-14) has more victories.

Every single time I step on this court, the love affair keeps going and keeps growing

Novak Djokovic on the Center Court

Djokovic said on court that his feelings for Centre Court always serve to spur him further at Wimbledon.

“I think the majority of the players will agree this is the biggest tennis tournament in the history of our game,” he said. “This tennis court is the most important one, definitely for my career and my life. I’ve said this many times before, this court has inspired me to take the tennis racket in my hand for the first time when I was five. So, every single time I step on this court, the love affair keeps going and keeps growing, so hopefully I can maintain that run.”

Wimbledon (Grand Slam), other quarter-finals (All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, grass, GBP 40.350.000, most recent results first):

  • Taylor Fritz vs. Rafael Nadal
  • Cristian Garin vs. Nick Kyrgios
  • David Goffin vs. Cameron Norrie: tuesday
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