International Sport > Tennis > DJOKOVIC SEES OFF NADAL IN EPIC WIMBLEDON SEMI-FINAL

DJOKOVIC SEES OFF NADAL IN EPIC WIMBLEDON SEMI-FINAL

Novak Djokovic came through a tense deciding set to beat long-time rival Rafael Nadal and book his place in the Wimbledon final.

The three-time champion had held the upper hand when play was halted on Friday, claiming the third set in a tie-break just prior to the cut-off point at 11pm local time.

Nadal hit back when their clash resumed a day later, though, winning the fourth set to draw level as the two heavyweights of the sport slugged it out under the Centre Court roof.

The duo continued to thrill the full house in a dramatic final set that lasted 91 minutes.

Djokovic failed to convert a match-point opportunity in the 16th game but made no mistake second time around, sealing a 6-4 3-6 7-6 (11-9) 3-6 10-8 victory after five hours and 15 minutes.

His reward is a clash with Kevin Anderson on Sunday after the South African overcame John Isner in a marathon match spanning six hours and 35 minutes on Friday.

While Djokovic did not take quite so long as his final opponent to prevail, his two-day epic with Nadal still sits second on the list for longest semi-finals in the tournament’s history.

Any concerns that the overnight delay may see a drop in the standard of play disappeared during a stunning opening game that lasted 16 minutes, Nadal having to go to deuce six times as he staved off two break points on his own serve.

The hard-earned hold triggered a three-game run for the Spaniard, only for Djokovic to respond with a similar burst of his own to get back on level terms.

Crucially, though, the Serbian failed to win another game in the fourth set. After dumping a routine forehand into the net to lose serve in the eighth, a clearly frustrated Djokovic thrashed his racket against the sole of his shoe.

With so much on the line, both players tightened up at the start of the decider.

Having failed to convert a break-point opportunity of his own in the eighth game, Djokovic rallied from 15-40 down in the next to go 5-4 ahead and put the pressure on his rival.

Nadal impressively kept finding a response – including saving the first match point he faced with a deft drop shot – until an untimely slip in the 18th game opened the door for Djokovic. The 12th seed seized his moment, a firm service return forcing his foe into a rushed response that drifted well wide.

Djokovic - who now leads 27-25 in the career head-to-head with Nadal - will compete in his first grand slam final since the 2016 French Open, suggesting he is finally back to his best after two years plagued by form and fitness issues.

Copyright: www.scoresway.com
 
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NADAL BRACED FOR DJOKOVIC SHOWDOWN KERBER DENIES SERENA FAIRYTALE WIMBLEDON VICTORY
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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