Novak Djokovic equals Roger Federer semi-final mark with latest Wimbledon win

The Serbian is through to a 46th slam semi-final after a four-set win

Eleanor Crooks
Tuesday 11 July 2023 20:42 BST
Wimbledon umpire warns fans not to pop champagne bottles as players attempt serve

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Novak Djokovic equalled Roger Federer’s record for the most men’s grand slam singles semi-final appearances in history by coming from a set down to defeat Andrey Rublev.

The Serbian’s 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-3 victory on Centre Court sent him through to the last four at a major for the 46th time and extended his winning run at Wimbledon to 33 matches.

Djokovic is now only two wins away from yet another grand-slam title and, although this performance was not quite perfect, it was another demonstration of what it will take to stop the 36-year-old lifting the trophy for an eighth time.

Rublev played a terrific match yet landed only a glancing blow on Djokovic, with the Russian now the first man in the Open era to have lost his first eight slam quarter-finals.

He is one of the hardest hitters in the game, particularly off his forehand, while his intensity has made him a favourite of Djokovic’s five-year-old daughter Tara.

Rublev lost in straight sets to Djokovic at the same stage of the Australian Open and he knew the importance of hanging with the defending champion, which he did by saving three break points in the sixth game.

The pair were fighting fire with fire and Djokovic thrust his arm into the air after winning one particularly fierce exchange.

He dropped his level at the end of the opening set, though, and Rublev capitalised, clinching a break point to lead 5-4 and then serving it out.

It was the second set Djokovic had dropped in successive rounds after a wobble against Hubert Hurkacz but he responded in impressive fashion, racing into a 5-0 lead in the second set.

If Rublev struggles to get to sleep, it may well be because of the third set, where he certainly had his chances but could not take them.

Two break points came and went in the second game before Djokovic turned the dial to relentless in the fifth game and got the break.

Rublev did well to stay in it, saving more break points at 2-4, and it so nearly paid off with Djokovic serving at 5-4. Missing two set points seemed to set the second seed on edge and the game turned into a Wimbledon classic.

Djokovic saved one break point with a rare serve and volley only for Rublev to set up another in a brilliant net exchange.

Djokovic was wavering on second serve in particular but Rublev could not take advantage and, after saving three break points in total, he finally converted his fifth set point.

The Serbian gave a long look to his support camp before giving an extended clench of the fist towards the crowd, who had been strongly supporting his opponent – even against a Russian opponent, Djokovic was still second favourite.

Playing here made Djokovic just the third player ever after Federer and Serena Williams to contest 400 slam singles matches, and he has now won a remarkable 353 of them.

While Rublev continued to battle in the fourth set, another break of serve in the third game gave Djokovic the advantage and he pulled away to set up a semi-final clash with Jannik Sinner.

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