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Djokovic Stakes His Claim, Reaches Wimbledon QFs

Novak Djokovic remains a work in progress, tinkering with his game, but the flashes of brilliance that hark back to his peak-performance days shine bright.

The Serbian occasionally doubted himself on serve and in his movement on Tuesday at The Championships, but when it came to the crunch against France’s Adrian Mannarino there were only roars of approval to the watching Andre Agassi and Mario Ancic, both brought in to help Djokovic rediscover his taste for Grand Slam championship glory.

Novak Djokovic.
For the first hour, the three-time former Wimbledon champion was faultless in his focus and execution, but in controlled conditions under the Centre Court roof, it was the firepower of his French opponent that temporarily put him on the back foot. Second seed Djokovic let slip a 4-1 lead in the second set, but ultimately triumphed 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-4 in two hours and 16 minutes for a place in the quarter-finals.

Djokovic raced to a 3-0 lead and as The Championships doctor came out, spectators reasoned towards a visit to Mannarino, who was seen to be nursing his lower back. However, the doctor stopped at Djokovic’s chair. Later, in the third set, Djokovic had on-court physio for a right upper arm and shoulder complaint, but resumed play to reach his 39th major championship quarter-final. Last year, Djokovic beat Mannarino in straight sets in the second round.

Djokovic has a 25-2 lead against his next opponent, Czech No. 11 seed Tomas Berdych, who the Serbian star will challenge on Wednesday at the All England Club. Berdych won their 2010 Wimbledon semi-final in straight sets en route to his lone Grand Slam final, but Djokovic clinched their second grass-court meeting 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-3 in the 2013 quarter-finals.

"He beat me here in semi-finals in 2010," said Djokovic. "It was I think his first Grand Slam final. Obviously, he's been around many years. He was an established Top 10 player, big game, flat shots, which are pretty good for this surface where the ball bounces quite low. He's someone that understands the occasion of playing big matches, big tournaments. He will not get overwhelmed by the stadium or whatever. He's been there so many years. He's got experience. It's important to start off well. I've played him many times. I know what I need to do. Hopefully I can execute that."

Djokovic must win his fourth Wimbledon title to have a chance of returning to top spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings, but his fate is not in his own hands. Should Andy Murray win his quarter-final clash with Sam Querrey on Wednesday, the two-time Wimbledon champion is guaranteed to hold onto No. 1.

Source: http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/djokovic-mannarino-wimbledon-2017-tuesday2

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