Novak Djokovic beats Rafael Nadal to reach Wimbledon final after two-day thriller
NOVAK DJOKOVIC beat Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(9), 3-6, 10-8 in a thrilling battle which spread over two days to reach the Wimbledon final.
Nadal and Djokovic suffered a heavy delay getting onto Centre Court on Friday because Kevin Anderson’s victory against John Isner lasted six hours and 36 minutes.
It took 50 games of the fifth set for the pair to finally be separated as Anderson broke for the first time in the set.
But that meant Nadal and Djokovic did not begin their on-court warm-ups until gone eight o’clock after Wimbledon grounds staff also had to close the roof.
Restrictions imposed by the council meant play was paused at 11.02pm, two minutes past the permitted time, with Djokovic ahead 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(9).
And they returned to finish the tie this afternoon and it was Novak Djokovic who won a dramatic fifth set to meet Kevin Anderson in Sunday's final.
When the action got underway Djokovic shot out of the blocks and won a number of points on the Spaniard's serve.
Nadal extends his eight-year Wimbledon drought
The Serbian got his deserved breakthrough in the seventh game before holding serve for the remainder of the set to win 6-4.
The second set was full of twists and turns as Nadal broke twice - once more than Djokovic - to level the scores at one set all.
Both players were more resolute on serve in the third and they refused to be broke as they headed into a nervy tiebreak.
And there were mini-breaks aplenty as Djokovic edged ahead for an overnight lead.
When the players returned on Saturday Nadal raced into a 3-0 lead in the fourth set but Djokovic swiftly struck back to level.
Nadal had one more trick up his sleeve and he forced the game to a fifth set.
But Djokovic got the decisive break to win the match after five hours and 17 minutes.