The 2013 Wimbledon top seed, Novak Djokovic, progressed to his 11th Grand Slam final on Friday, with a thrilling 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (6), 6-3 win over no.8 seed Juan Martin del Potro on Centre Court.
A gruelling 5-setter, the rematch of London 2012 Olympics bronze medal clash, required 4 hours and 43 minutes, and is the longest men’s semi-final in The Championships history.
The previous longest SF was the 1989 encounter between Boris Becker and Ivan Lendl.
Nole and Del Potro exchanged the first two sets before the Serb pulled out a tight third. The Argentine hit back in the fourth-set tie-break to force a deciding final set.
Play went with serve until 4-3 before Novak made a crucial break and gave himself a chance to serve for the victory. He saved a break point before winning a ferocious battle on his third match point.
“It was one of the best matches I’ve been a part of,” said the reigning Australian Open titlist. “I could not separate us, apart from when I was 2-1 and a break up – and I dropped serve. That’s why he’s a Grand Slam champion. He came up with some top shots, credit to him.”
Meeting for the 12th time (9-3), Djokovic won 83 per cent of his first service points and converted three of his 15 break point opportunities.
Match statistics: aces (22-4), double faults (2-4), winners (80-48), unforced errors (48-37), total points won (190-178).
Novak will go for his second title at Wimbledon and seventh Major crown when he plays no.2 seed Andy Murray (11-7 career H2H record) on Sunday at 15.00 CET.
A first triumph at the All England Club (2011) saw him rise to world no.1.