Novak Djokovic booked his place in the Wimbledon 2011 Men’s Singles Semi-Final after dispatching 18 year old Australian, Bernard Tomic, in four sets 6-2 3-6 6-4 7-5 despite experiencing something of a wobble in the middle part of the match.
The young Australian player, who came to the Quarter Final after beating 5th seed Robin Soderling, looked a little nervous on Court Number One as he was broken in his first service game. Djokovic made that early break count as he lifted the opening set 6-2, by adding a further break.
However, Tomic was soon into stride in the second set, breaking early before holding his nerve, and his serve, to lift the second set and make a match of it.
Alarm bells must have been ringing in the Djokovic camp, when, with his serve going all to pieces, the Serbian player who has only been beaten once in 2011 soon found himself two games – including a break – behind in the third set. Djokovic knows how to dig deep for extra mental reserves, however, and he was able to not only break back, but to lift his service game sufficiently to defeat his increasingly awkward opponent.
Tomic has a style unlike any other at the top of the men’s game. There is very little speed and power on the ball, but he places his shots with no little accuracy to work his opponent around the court, before flattening out and delivering a supreme winner. At times, today, he got this so right, in quick succession. At other moments, he simply hit errors, with many attempted winners firing limply into the net. Those streaks of brilliance, though, meant that Djokovic had to be right up to his best to keep on top, something he achieved only momentarily in the third and fourth sets.
But Djokovic, as so often since 2010, did enough to secure victory today. He secured the breaks needed to lift the match with the minimum of fuss, even though Tomic had appeared to do enough to raise the question of a fifth set. When the chips were down at the end of the fourth, Novak answered: coming back with some stunning winners, and a resurgent first service game just when he needed it. His roar when he lifted the match showed everyone who had not already noticed that he was desperate for another Grand Slam victory in this tough Quarter Final.
The Wimbledon Court Number One crowd will see Bernard Tomic again, though. He simply has too much class about him not to go deep in more Grand Slams. Both of these players have plenty of years of top-level tennis left in them, too, so this battle of guile versus power could yet be another ongoing saga at the top of the men’s game for some time to come.
Djokovic will face France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Semi-Final after the Frenchman overcame Roger Federer in five sets on Centre Court.