Novak Djokovic received a short, sharp shock as Jannik Sinner won their first two quarter-final sets. But the six-time Wimbledon winner laid on a fightback to escape into his 11th semi-final here on Tuesday 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
Top seed Djokovic was caught by surprise with the early form of Sinner. The top- seeded Serb needed to scratch his way back into contention, finally running out the winner in just under three and three-quarter hours.
Djokovic was broken four times while Sinner lost his serve on six occasions.
The Serb said he needed to give himself some encouragement after losing the second set.
“It was a pep talk, positive talk; it gives you something if you give yourself positive affirmations,” he said.
“It doesn’t always work, this time it did.”
He explained further: “For two sets, Sinner was the best man on the court. From the start of the third, I played three really very solid, very high-quality tennis sets.”
.”Experience helped me to finally win. I found my rhythm when I broke him at the start of the third.”
The comeback victory stretches the Djokovic grass win streak to 26 matches for a player who has not lost at Wimbledon since he went down to Tomas Berdych in the 2017 quarter-finals with a right elbow injury.
Djokovic now owns 84 Wimbledon wins, standing level with Jimmy Connors with both men trailing Roger Federer.(105).
The world No. 3 started turning his luck in the third set and led the fourth 4-0.
A break in the seventh game of the final set set the tone as Djokovic calmly ended the afternoon on his first match point.
The winner completed his seventh comeback from two sets to love down, with three of them coming against Italians. Before overhauling Sinner, he defeated Andreas Seppi at 2012 Roland Garros and did the same to Lorenzo Musetti in Paris last year.
Djokovic will aim for the semis facing a nation after Brit Cam Norrie moved into position as his upcoming opponent.
Norrie went the five-set distance before beating Belgian veteran David Goffin 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Norrie broke new career ground with his last-eight spot.
“Just winning a match like this, I’m in shock. I don’t know what to say now,” an emotional Norrie said in his on-court interview. “But just straight flashbacks to all the hard work, all the preseasons and all the sacrifices I’ve had to make. So it definitely pays off and it feels pretty good.”
Entering the tournament, Norrie had never reached a major quarter-final. The 26-year-old will now play six-time champion Novak Djokovic for a spot in the championship match.
“It’s great to get this, but it only gets tougher. I’m going to come out, I’m going to enjoy that and take it to him,” he said.
“Hopefully you guys can get behind me again. I’m sure you will… But I can’t enjoy it too much now, I need to get ready for Novak in a couple of days.”
Norrie managed to write off 33 early unforced errors as he got his game under control to win in almost three and a half hours.