Second seed Novak Djokovic won in four sets against Marcos Baghdatis in an epic third round clash to keep his Wimbledon dream alive.
Although the Serb started well he went through a lull in the second set and appeared mentally beaten as he smashed his racket in fury when things weren’t going his way.
His manner was unrelaxed and tense throughout, unlike Baghdatis who was enjoying the occasion of being back on Centre Court.
He wooed the crowd with his flamboyant style and determination. It was not enough, however, as Djokovic’s quality ultimately shone through giving him a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.
The Cypriot, a former world number eight, tried in vain to compete with Djokovic in the early exchanges, but it became clear he did not have the consistency or power to match the Australian Open champion in the long rallies.
The Serb had the uncanny knack of turning defence into attack and finishing off points in style. Having said that, Baghdatis battled well, and the opening set was a real struggle for Djokovic with break points scarce.
Djokovic finally got one, though, concurrently giving the Serb a set point. Although he was unable to take it after a powerful first serve from Baghdatis, the world number two made no mistake in his next break point after the Cypriot hit a forehand long.
Djokovic then saved two break points in the beginning of the second set, just as it looked as though the momentum was changing. But then he squandered break points himself in the following game, and was subsequently broken in his next service game.
The match had opened up suddenly and it was all to play for with Djokovic appearing rather frustrated out on Centre Court.
This became evident when he then smashed his racket in fury after an entertaining rally. Djokovic was brilliant defensively to give himself an opportunity to win the point but instead made an unforced error.
Baghdatis held to close out the set; much to the delight of the Centre Court crowd.
With the crowd well and fully enthralled in what was happening Djokovic then broke during a marathon game to go ahead in the third set 3-1.
But despite the Cypriot’s best efforts, he was unable to break back and Djokovic comfortably held out to win 6-3.
The Serb was now in control of his own game and was performing close to the levels widely expected of him.
He was dominating the rallies, threatening regularly on Baghdatis’s serve and holding without any difficulty on his own one. The crucial break came in the fifth game after a gruelling rally. Djokovic was a brick wall at the back of the court and waited for the error from his opponent, which eventually arose when the ball slid down the bottom of the net.
And this moment proved to be decisive. Although the crowd were fully behind Baghdatis, and he was pushing the Serb all the way, it was not enough as he finally succumbed in the fourth set.