Novak Djokovic roared back from two sets to love against Italian youngster Jannik Sinner to secure his place in the Wimbledon men’s singles semi-finals.
In a game with a lot of drama, defending champion Djokovic had to dig deep into his arsenal to beat the Italian number 13 in the world, who seemed to have the game in sight after the opening of two sets and with a 7-5, 6-2 lead. to have. his racket.
But after a brief bathroom break after the second set, the Serbian star returned another player and used his experience to gain control of the free-swinging Sinner, before knocking out the match 5-7, 2-6, 6 -3, 6 -2, 6-2 win.
Djokovic would praise Sinner’s early performance before claiming his well-timed bathroom break and facing some hard truths in the mirror were the difference.
“I think we probably had two different games. He was the better player in the first two sets,” said Djokovic.
“I went out for a toilet break and a little pep talk in the mirror.
“Sometimes in these kind of circumstances where not much positive is happening for you, these things are what it takes…a little break and a pep talk and trying to recuperate and put the mind back together.
“I broke his serve early in the set and that gave me confidence and I saw a bit of doubt in his game.
Even by Djokovic’s own lofty standards, the comeback has been one of his best as he is chasing a seventh Wimbledon crown and 21st overall grand slam title.
But while the win was impressive, the overall performance was at times out of tune with Serbian greatness.
After racing to a 4-1 lead in the opening set, he could do nothing but watch as Sinner ran rampant and took out five of the next six games to win the set 7-5, leaving Djokovic stunned and the Wimbledon crowds rocked as they threw the majority of their support behind the 20-year-old.
Djokovic couldn’t do much to keep Sinner in check either.
The second set was a show of power from the Italian as he overpowered and defeated his much more experienced rival and made him pay for a series of forehand errors and ill-advised drop shots, resulting in little but Djokovic being broken repeatedly.
But then the toilet break came and Djokovic returned to the field with renewed vigor.
He started to ramp up the intensity on his foundations and seemed to match Sinner’s strength and when he broke Sinner to live for a 3-1 lead, he looked just like the warrior as he honed his own strength and used his vaunted defense to take Sinner down to make play every possible shot.
He even played for the crowd when he broke and predictably got a mixture of cheers and whoops from the Center Court crowd.
The intensity level remained high and Djokovic, after willing himself back into the game by taking third, marched to fourth by breaking Sinner in his first service game.
Though Sinner seemingly sensed the inevitable was coming, he never gave up and nearly injured himself when he rolled his ankle chasing a Djokovic drop volley while looking for another miraculous winner to add to a series of them throughout the match.
Holding his ankle, Djokovic crossed the net to control Sinner in a show of sportsmanship.
And while Djokovic gave it to him, he showed no mercy to Sinner as he continued to pound him into the final set, even making a prodigious sliding backhand pass late in the game that got the crowd going, even when Djokovic was on the grass.
Without losing in four consecutive trips to The All England Club, Djokovic then takes on British Cameron Norrie in the semi-final.
Norrie defeated Belgian veteran David Goffin in five sets 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 to become the first Briton to reach the semi-finals since Andy Murray in 2016, when the Scotsman claimed victory. second Wimbledon title.
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