Defending champion Novak Djokovic claimed his 11th Wimbledon semi-final spot after defeating Italian tenth seed Jannik Sinner on Tuesday.
Djokovic was down two sets, with Sinner leading 5-7 and 2-6. He then made a comeback and triumphed 6-3, 6-2, and 6-2. He will now continue to face Britain’s Cameron Norrie or David Goffin of Belgium to fight for a spot in Sunday’s final.
Making comeback after toilet break
The victory was the Serbian’s seventh time recovering from two sets at the Slams.
“Huge congrats to Jannik for a big fight, he’s so mature for his age, he has plenty of time ahead of him,” said Djokovic after the game. “The first two sets compared to the next three were like two different matches. He was the better player for those first two sets.
“But at the end of the second set I took a toilet break, gave myself a little pep talk, tried to gather my thoughts. I broke early in the third set. I saw a little bit of doubt start to come into his movement. I have many years’ experience of playing on these courts and coping with the pressure.”
Djokovic is currently on a bid to match Pete Sampras’ seven Wimbledon titles, one win away from Roger Federer’s men’s record of eight.
The Serbian international said the comeback win required him to believe in himself and acknowledge that he had gone through similar situations before. Earlier in last year’s French Open, Djokovic had to come back from two sets to love down twice, the second of which was when he faced Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.
“I go through the same doubtful moments as anyone else,” he said. “The inner fight is the biggest fight you go through. I always believed I could turn the match around, I’ve done it a few times in grand slams. I’m just glad I’m through.
“This court has inspired me, every time I step on it the love affair keeps going and hopefully I can maintain that run.”
Djokovic initially led 4-1 in the opener. He then had a break point for 5-1 against his 20-year-old opponent. Sinner, however, retaliated and made it 6-5.
Djokovic had to wait until the fourth set to level the tie with a double break. The 35-year-old then recorded two more breaks in the decider and stretched it to 5-2 before serving it out.
“I played well but he raised his level. I think I can be proud of what I have done here,” said Sinner.
Tatjana Maria enters semifinals
On the other side of the court was Tatjana Maria, who advanced to the Wimbledon semifinals. The German’s first final four at any Grand Slam tournament defeated Jule Niemeier 4-6, 6-2, and 7-5. She will face either world’s No. 2 Ons Jabeur or Marie Bouzkova.
“I have goosebumps everywhere,” said the 34-year-old world number 103, who recently returned from her maternity leave.
“My two little girls, it’s a dream to live this with my family, to live this with my two girls. Almost one year ago I gave birth, it’s crazy.”