Novak Djokovic reaches Wimbledon semi-finals
Wednesday 29 June 2011
An out-of-sorts Novak Djokovic survived some scary moments to book his place in the Wimbledon semi-finals, beating teenage Australian Bernard Tomic 6-2 3-6 6-3 7-5 on Court One.
The Serbian second seed, with just one defeat to his name in 2011, was lethargic and error-prone against his Australian practice partner, was broken three times and needed a run of seven straight games spanning the third and fourth sets to put him in command.
He will need to play much better if he is to progress into a maiden SW19 final, though, and may have some concerns over an injury he seemed to suffer when falling in the fourth set.
With two of Tomic's childhood heroes, the 2001 finalists Goran Ivanisevic and Pat Rafter, watching on, there was no suggestion that the boy from the Gold Coast was going to give his illustrious friend such a fright as Djokovic broke twice to take the first set.
Five of the eight break points he had came in the first game, with a backhand-volley combination allowing him to get off to the perfect start.
Tomic then settled into his languid stride but, when he conceded three further break points in the seventh game, Djokovic cashed one of them in and then held to love to take the set.
Despite being broken twice already, Tomic's play on the ground was impressive, holding the centre of the court and forcing to Djokovic to scramble, and he broke to lead 3-1 early in the second when Djokovic double-faulted.
He cemented the break with a hold to love and could have broken in the next game had Djokovic not pulled out a brace of booming serves.
Tomic was flying now, though, and went 5-2 ahead when he chased down a drop shot, before winning the set 6-3.
Few had given Tomic a chance prior to the match, but it was he who looked like the second seed as he broke again at the start of the third.
Djokovic, hardly overworked with an average match time for the tournament of two hours, looked tired, and when he came in to try and block a passing shot, his attempted short return ballooned off court to give his opponent an ideal start.
Djokovic spurned two chances to take Tomic's serve in a marathon fourth game, but he regained his composure to break to 15 in the sixth as Tomic's previously metronomic groundstrokes evaded him.
His serve was the next thing to go, a double-fault allowing Djokovic to break again to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead, which quickly turned into a third-set win.
Tomic's confidence looked to have deserted him, a wildly long forehand and a weak backhand into the net giving Djokovic a third straight break at the start of the fourth, but the teenager quickly found his mojo again and was back level in the fourth game.
Djokovic offered up three break points and Tomic did not need a second invitation, coming in on a tame second serve and pounding home a forehand winner.
Another dreamy shot on his right side staved off a break point on his own serve in the next game, while Djokovic had an injury scare as he fell to the ground in the ninth game as Tomic nailed a forehand wide of him.
Tomic's hitting was becoming erratic again, though, and when Djokovic earned a break point in the 11th game he took it, floating a drop shot out of his opponent's reach and he went on to serve out the match.
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