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Djokovic into 13th consecutive Grand Slam semi-final

  • Published at 03:33 pm July 3rd, 2013
Djokovic into 13th consecutive Grand Slam semi-final

World number one Novak Djokovic reached his 13th consecutive Grand Slam semi-final on Wednesday with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-3 win over Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

However, , Juan Martin del Potro played through the pain barrier to reach his first Wimbledon semi-final as the former US Open champion defeated Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5).

Djokovic, the 2011 champion, will face Juan Martin del Potro -- the Argentine eighth seed, who put out Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) -- for a place in Sunday's final.

Djokovic will go into the semis not having dropped a set in the tournament while holding an 8-3 winning stranglehold against Del Potro.

Wednesday's win was the 26-year-old Djokovic's 14th in 16 career meetings with Berdych as he romped to victory despite having slipped a double-break down at 0-3 in the second set.

"It was a strong start from me. I had a few break points in the opening game but didn't manage to take them. The set was decided by just one mistake in the tiebreak," said Djokovic, who fired 16 aces and 36 winners.

"It was a close match, it could have gone either way. He was a double-break up in the second set. I don't know how I got out of that, but I was serving and returning well.

"I have a commitment to go far in this tournament. I am playing some of my best tennis on grass even though it's not my preferred surface," added the Serb, who holds six Grand Slam titles.

Top seed Djokovic, in his 17th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final, played the more composed tie-break to take the opening set, much to the delight of compatriot and Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic, who was watching from his box.

That indicated that the world number one was comfortably on his way with Berdych living off scraps. In the entire first set, Djokovic gave up just two unforced errors.

Berdych, who beat Djokovic in the semi-finals in 2010 when he finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal, quickly regathered his composure, carving out back-to-back breaks for 3-0.

But his audacity came at a cost as Djokovic retrieved the breaks in a flash for 3-3 and then held for 4-3 before taking a two-sets to love lead when the 27-year-old Czech dumped a weary forehand into the net.

A break in the fourth game of the third set gave Djokovic a 3-1 lead which became 4-1 with a solid hold.

At that stage, the Serb had won 10 of 12 games and Berdych could find no response in the dying stages.

In the other match, Argentine eighth seed Del Potro emerged unscathed despite a nasty fall in the first game of the quarter-final that required several minutes' treatment and briefly appeared to leave him in tears.

The 24-year-old was clearly struggling to move at times, but he gritted his teeth through two hours and 16 minutes of gruelling action, unloading 42 winners and 12 aces to finally subdue the battling Spaniard.

Del Potro's reward for his heroic efforts is a daunting clash against world number one Novak Djokovic on Friday for a place in Sunday's final.

It will be del Potro's first Grand Slam semi-final appearance since his breakthrough triumph at the US Open four years ago.

Del Potro is just the second Argentine man to feature in the Wimbledon semi-finals, following in the footsteps of David Nalbandian in 2002.

Asked how close he was to pulling out, he said: "Really close because I felt a lot of pain in the beginning of the match. It was exactly the same like I did before. It's really, really painful. I twisted my knee once again but the doctor gave me some magic pills so I could finish the match and I'm so glad to go through.

"I think I played my best tennis in this match. I hit really well my forehand, my serves and in the end I played my best forehand ever in this Wimbledon -- I was lucky that that ball was in and I won the match."

This was del Potro's first appearance in the last eight at Wimbledon, but he took the bronze medal at last year's London Olympics, played at the All England Club, after beating Djokovic in the third place match and now he has avenged his last 16 loss to Ferrer at Wimbledon 12 months ago.

Reports just before the start of the quarter-final suggested Ferrer had struggled so badly with ankle and toe injuries that he could only practise for a couple of minutes on Wednesday morning before seeking out a doctor.

Ironically it was del Potro who suffered the more serious injury scare after just four points.

Leading 40-15 on Ferrer's serve, del Potro stretched to reach a shot on the baseline and took a nasty fall which bent his left leg at an awkward angle.