LONDON — Favorite Novak Djokovic trailed for the first time at this year’s Wimbledon but responded in brutal fashion to beat Andrey Rublev 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-3 to reach the semifinals on Tuesday.
Inspired seventh seed Mr. Rublev snatched the opening set but it was akin to poking a sleeping grizzly bear as Mr. Djokovic exacted painful punishment to stay on track for a fifth straight title.
Mr. Rublev played some brilliant tennis that would have accounted for pretty much any other player in the world.
But it was not enough to stop the 36-year-old Mr. Djokovic reaching his 46th Grand Slam semifinal, equaling the record of eight-time champion Roger Federer.
Second seed Mr. Djokovic will face Jannik Sinner in the his 12th Wimbledon semifinal after the Italian also beat a Russian opponent in Roman Safiullin earlier on Tuesday.
When Rublev broke serve in the eighth game courtesy of a couple of beefy forehands and held serve thanks to a Djokovic error to win the opening set it seemed a first win in a Grand Slam quarterfinal at the eighth attempt was possible — even against a man without a Centre Court loss for a decade.
But Mr. Djokovic quickly reasserted his authority to race through a one-sided second set.
The Serbian was in control as he broke serve early in the third set but Mr. Rublev was not done and Mr. Djokovic was stretched to his elastic-limbed limits when serving at 5-4, fending off three break points and needing five set points in a sensational game to move within a set of his 33rd successive Wimbledon win. — Reuters