Just as Novak Djokovic’s difficult year looked like hitting another low, he saved his bid for a fourth straight Wimbledon title by coming back from two sets down on Tuesday and defeating Italy’s Jannik Sinner.
The Serbian top seed had been in all sorts of trouble against the inspired 20-year-old after being outplayed in two sets but he stormed back to win 5-7 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 .
In the end, the result was inevitable as the battle-hardened 35-year-old took control and achieved his 43rd Grand Slam semifinal and 11th place finish at Wimbledon.
He also extended an unbeaten run at Wimbledon dating back to 2017 and now stands at 26 games.
Djokovic has not added to his 20 major titles this year after being deported ahead of the Australian Open following a COVID-19 patch situation and then losing to old opponent Rafa Nadal in the French Open quarterfinals.
But he kept alive the prospect of meeting the second-placed Spaniard with a magnificent comeback in Sunday’s final, the seventh time of his career that he has triumphed after losing the opening two sets.
After receiving the applause of the crowd on Center Court, Djokovic explained how he turned it around.
“The first two sets compared to the last three were like two different games,” Djokovic, who is now second all-time with Jimmy Connors with 83 wins in Wimbledon games, said on the court.
“He (Sinner) was the better player for two sets, then I went out and had a bathroom break and had a little bit of encouraging talk to me in the mirror, that’s actually true. Sometimes, when not much positive is happening, these things are necessary.
“I broke early in the third set and that gave me a confidence boost and I saw a little bit of doubt about him.”
Sinner, tenth seeded, was expecting the biggest win of his career to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Matteo Berrettini who reached the final last year.
But once Djokovic’s attack began, it faded.
When Djokovic hit a wonderful backhand winner down the slide in game seven of the fifth set to earn a break and finished in a Superman stance on his stomach, Sinner knew he was facing an impossible mission.
The Italian scored a long volley on the next point and then Djokovic saved to seal the win and set up a clash with David Goffin or British hope Cameron Norrie.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/tennis/novak-djokovic-battles-back-to-beat-jannik-sinner-and-reach-wimbledon-semi-finals-41816159.html Novak Djokovic fights back to beat Jannik Sinner to reach Wimbledon semifinals