Screaming Djokovic pulls off the great escape

Tue Jul 7, 2015 11:55am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Top seed and reigning champion Novak Djokovic pulled off a great escape at Wimbledon in beating South African Kevin Anderson on Tuesday after five tense sets to reach his 25th successive grand slam quarter-final.

In a match spanning two days, with the top seed fighting back to two sets all in fading light on Monday before play was stopped and carried over, Djokovic walked away a mightily relieved man with a 6-7(6) 6-7(6) 6-1 6-4 7-5 win.

"I think he served exceptionally well. This was one of the most difficult matches I have played at Wimbledon and maybe in my career," the world number one said after a final set in which his frustration and pent-up emotion was audible.

He now faces U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia in the last eight.

The players had walked out to cheers for the final set but the entry proved premature, with umbrellas going up and the rain covers hurriedly pulled across Court One as the pair returned to the locker room.

When the match did re-start, 16 hours and 33 minutes after the previous point was played, Djokovic was immediately back in the line of fire.

Anderson blasted down two aces, followed by a backhand volley and another bullet that fizzed past Djokovic, to hold serve without giving the Serb any hope of replying.

Djokovic saved two break points in the fourth game, holding serve for 2-2, with Anderson -- who served 40 aces to his opponent's 13 -- keeping up the pressure by rattling through the next game to love.   Continued...

Novak Djokovic of Serbia requests his towel from a ball girl during his match against Kevin Anderson of South Africa at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 7, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett