Defending champion Novak Djokovic averted a surprise exit at Wimbledon to reach the semi-finals of the grass-court classic for the eleventh time.

After trailing in two sets, the top-seeded Serb won 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 against Jannik Sinner from South Tyrol in 3:35 hours on Tuesday. The 20-year-old thus missed his first semi-final at a Grand Slam tournament. Djokovic will now meet the winner of the match between Cameron Norrie of Great Britain and David Goffin of Belgium.

Late in the fourth set, Sinner twisted his ankle but was able to continue playing. In the deciding set, Djokovic took his opponent’s serve for 2-1 and pulled away in commanding fashion. “He was the better player in the first two sets. I refreshed myself and had a little motivational talk with my reflection,” Djokovic said of a crucial toilet break.

The 35-year-old Djokovic is aiming for his seventh Wimbledon title. As it stands, Wimbledon is Djokovic’s last chance to win a Grand Slam title this year. He does not want to be vaccinated against the corona virus even if the ban on entering the USA continues and would thus also miss the US Open. Djokovic had recently confirmed that he had ruled out a vaccination for himself.