It required something very special to deny rising star Jannik Sinner at Wimbledon on Tuesday afternoon, and Novak Djokovic found what was required.
The reigning champion and top seed recovered from two sets down to beat the Italian in thrilling fashion and reach the semi-finals at the All England Club for the 12th time.
A set away from his first defeat at SW19 since 2017, the six-time champion dug deep to keep his title defence alive - and one shot in particular in the final set had the stunned crowd standing.
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"Oh my! He was flying then!" exclaimed Chris Bradnam on commentary for the BBC.
"That has got the crowd on his side. What a shot that was! The flying winner: just an extraordinary shot!"
In his 11th five-setter at Wimbledon, Djokovic took his record to 10-1 when going the distance at these Championships, while it was the third time he has overcome a two-set deficit.
Next up for the 20-time Grand Slam singles champion is a semi-final against either David Goffin or Britain's Cameron Norrie.
“Huge congratulations for a big fight from Jannik. I’m sure there are going to be a lot of opportunities for him on the big stage. He’s got plenty of time and I wish him the best of luck for the rest of the year,” Djokovic said.
“He was the better player for two sets, but I went out and had a refreshment, a pep talk in the mirror – it’s actually true! Sometimes when not much is happening positively, and the other guy is dominating, these things are necessary. A little break to recuperate and re-gather the thoughts.
“I was fortunate to start the third set very well. That gave me confidence and I saw a little bit of doubt in his game and movement. I guess experience helped me deal with the pressure.”
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Watch daily highlights from Wimbledon at 10pm on Eurosport 2 and discovery+ from June 27, as well as the two singles finals live on July 9 and 10.
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