Djokovic prevails in outstanding contest
I told you it would be a classic didn’t I! In the best match at Wimbledon for over four years, Juan Martin Del Potro and Novak Djkovic produced an astonishing display of power, retrieval, guts and determination in a near five hour epic.
All the concerns surrounding Del Potro’s knee vanished into the warm air as he chased down ball after ball of Djokovic’s deep baseline strokes until he eventually cracked at 6-5, when Djokovic’s brilliant defence earned him the first set. Del Potro refused to wilt and after some incredible power shots that saw the world number one scrambling all over the dead grass at the back of the court, Del Potro broke to love and served it out for parity.
For two more sets, momentum shifted time and time again with each player looking like they had the match by the horns before the other wrestled it away. Come the fourth set tie-break, the play reached out-of-this-world levels that hadn’t been seen on Centre Court since Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer in 2008. What is it about fourth set tie-breaks and Wimbledon? Del Potro produced four of the best points of his career to snatch control away from Djokovic and take the match into a deciding set.
Despite the breathless crowd’s best efforts, the big Argentine finally ran out of gas at the end of the fifth set and surrendered his serve at the most crucial of times. He tried his best to recover, earning a break point on Djokovic’s serve but the Serb has seen this so many times and held on long enough to wrap up the match with a gorgeous backhand down the line winner.
What’s scary is that this was the best match Del Potro has played since he won the US Open in 2009 and Djokovic was still able to overcome the rockets, the Argentine was sending down to him. There is little doubt that Djokovic is playing the best grass court tennis of his life right now. Some of the returns he managed to get back into court were mind-blowing and you would have thought he was playing on a clay court the way he effortlessly slid across the brown turf.
But he still saw himself tighten up at some stages and his normally steadfast line backhand was wayward throughout the afternoon. But still this was an almighty display from a man, who knows he is top dog and from someone who will now have added belief that even the best tennis of one of the most dangerous players on tour wasn’t enough to beat him.