On a hot summer day at SW19, the crowd on Center Court at the Wimbledon Championships witnessed an extraordinary contest between top seed Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro. The two athletes battled furiously for what will be remembered as the longest semi-final contest in Wimbledon history before the Serbian star finally secured the victory with a 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-7(6), 6-3 scoreline. The match lasted 4 hours and 43 minutes and was a thrilling affair full of painful twists and turns and excruciating emotions, culminating in a fantastic finish from Djokovic.
Novak Djokovic def. Juan Martin del Potro 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-7(6), 6-3
The match was certainly not supposed to be a competitive one, let alone the best match of the tournament; Del Potro had twisted his left ankle and hyper-extended his left knee in a third round victory over Grega Zemlja and was out on court in a for his semi-final contest in a considerable amount of pain. Little did anyone know that he would be out to make his biggest impact at a Grand Slam tournament since his 2009 US Open victory over Roger Federer.
Djokovic held the advantage early on in the contest and appeared the quicker and fresher of the two competitors and eventually broke ahead at 6-5 with a sensational drop shot to take the set. Having now lost his first set at the 2013 Championships, Del Potro raised his gameplay and while he faced three consecutive break points, he managed to overcome them with some fantastic shotmaking to remain level with the Serb. He would eventually break ahead and ultimately seal the set with an ace.
The third set saw the standard of tennis rise even higher as Djokovic once again had three set points over Del Potro but failed to convert any of them, and was forced to edge out the set in a tiebreaker. The fourth set featured arguably the best set of tennis up to that point that season as del Potro refused to surrender the match, forcing yet another tiebreaker between the two athletes. This time, the Argentine was prepared as he saved two match points and, to the delight of the crowd on Centre Court, snatched the set moments later to force a fifth and final set.
As is always the case, Djokovic soldiered on with what appeared to be an endless supply of determination and forced a break of serve in the final set. He would take a 5-3 lead and would close out the match in four hours and 37 minutes.
Following his magnificent win, Djokovic admit that it was one of the best matches he had ever taken part in.
“It was one of the best matches that I’ve been a part of, one of the most exciting definitely,” said Djokovic, who hit 80 winners, including 22 aces. “I’m privileged to be a winner of this match. It was so close, they couldn’t separate us. Every time he was in tough situations he came up with unbelievable shots. But that’s why he’s a Grand Slam champion and right at the top.”