Jumat, 05 Juli 2013

Wimbledon Djokovic survives big test from del Potro

Novak Djokovic of Serbia enbraces Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina at the net.(Photo Susan Mullane USA TODAY Sports)

WIMBLEDON England Billed as the semifinal undercard Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro delivered a Centre Court thriller on Friday that muffled Murray mania at least for a day.

Djokovic the top seed from Serbia outslugged No. 8 del Potro 7 5 4 6 7 6 (7 2) 6 7 (6 8) 6 3 in four hours and 43 minutes to advance to his second Wimbledon final.

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Is there another match on joked former British Davis Cup captain John Lloyd when he came off the court after calling the match for BBC TV. I mean seriously how could you beat that

I'm privileged to be a winner of this match Djokovic said shortly surviving another marathon epic at a major and giving Argetina's del Potro a friendly hug at the net.

It was a really high level match during four hours said 2009 U.S. Open winner del Potro who was in his first Wimbledon semifinal. I was so close.

Andy Murray did his part too fending off fiery 6 8 Jerzy Janowicz of Poland. The No. 2 seed from Scotland bidding to avenge last year's runnerup finish and become the first Brit to capture Wimbledon in 77 years won 6 7 (2 7) 6 4 6 4 6 3 despite a controversial decision to close the Centre Court roof after the third set.

The upshot After a Wimbledon marked by upsets and injuries the two best men in the world will clash on Sunday.

The Djokovic del Potro match was the longest semifinal in Wimbledon history and was only five minutes short of the 2008 five set final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal that's also considered one of the greatest matches played on Centre Court.

Eighth seeded Del Potro back in a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time since winning the 2009 U.S. Open saved two match points in the fourth set tiebreaker then won the final four points to take it 8 6.

Shortly after the match hit the 4 hour mark guaranteeing it would surpass the 1989 match between Boris Becker and Ivan Lendl a 4 hour 1 minute affair as the longest semifinal in Wimbledon's long history.

It was a very high level of tennis today I expected it said Djokovic whose 80 winners included 22 aces. I was ready to play five sets and I stayed tough until the end.

Del Potro came into the match with his left knee heavily taped a victim of two nasty slips that sent him tumbling earlier in the tournament. The second fall came two days earlier on the fifth point in the quarterfinal against David Ferrer. Del Potro said the trainer gave him a couple of magic pills anti inflammatories and that kept him going in his straight sets win over the No. 4 seed.

On Friday against Djokovic del Potro showed few signs of an aftereffect.

Tested throughout by a variety of Djokovic drop shots del Potro got to most. More than once the Argentine did his impression of a lanky golden retriever chasing the tennis ball from wide of the court on the forehand side to wide of the court on the backhand side. After going wide in the third set to hit one of his 48 winners del Potro stood on the ledge separating the court from the stands waiting for a high 5 from one of the fans at courtside.

In tough situations he came with some unbelievable shots Djokovic said.

There were a few he'd love to have back. Trailing 3 2 in the third set tiebreaker del Potro failed to put an overhead away and Djokovic slipped and fell on the dirt behind the baseline while throwing up a weak lob. Backpedaling del Potro couldn't handle the overhead and dropped it in the net. He lost the rest of the points to fall behind by a set.

A bit later Del Potro lost his serve to fall behind 4 3 in the fourth set but broke right back finishing the game with a big backhand winner a guttural grunt and a fist pump.

They held serve until the tiebreaker and when del Potro won that one he looked like the del Potro of 2009 the man who broke the Federer Nadal Djokovic stranglehold on the majors by overcoming a 2 1 deficit against Federer in the 2009 final at Flushing Meadows to win the title.

Meanwhile Murray steadied himself against the big hitting Janowicz the first man from Poland to reach a major semifinal after the dropping the first set and he is into the final for the second year in a row.

When the decision was made to close the roof at about 8 30 p.m. local time Murray showed his frustration. He had momentum on his side.

But after the 30 minute break Murray broke quickly to take a 2 1 lead then broke again to close out the match.

Murray will try to end a 77 year drought for British men at tennis' oldest championship.

GALLERY WIMBLEDON DAY 11

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Djokovic del Potro stats

Novak Djokovic (1) def. Juan Martin del Potro (8) 7 5 4 6 7 6 (2) 6 7 (6) 6 3.

Contributing The Associated Press

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