Qualifying begins: 26 June
The Draw: 30 June
Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July
Order of Play: 2 July
Championships begin: 3 July
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Novak Djokovic had to overcome a worrying shoulder injury as well as his opponent, Adrian Mannarino, to book his place in the gentlemen’s singles quarter-finals with a 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-4 win under the Centre Court roof.
Djokovic needed a medical timeout, while leading 4-3 in the third set, for treatment on his right shoulder, and there was obvious relief as he claimed victory after two hours and 14 minutes. It will be a question of how well his shoulder recovers before Wednesday's quarter-final against Tomas Berdych, the No.11 seed who was enjoying a day off while Djokovic played his delayed match.
Djokovic said: "We will see about the shoulder. It’s something I have been dragging around for a while but I am still able to play. I haven’t dropped a set in grass court events this year and I am very motivated to get as far as I can.”
Djokovic, who beat Mannarino at Wimbledon last year in their only previous meeting, expressed some concern over the state of the court after his win.
Mannarino looked nervous at the start and did not move with any real confidence, which allowed Djokovic to dominate the opening set. The No.2 seed broke as early as the second game as Mannarino was dragged all along the baseline. Mannarino, ranked No.51, was also making critical errors when opportunities arose and a poorly played overhead sailed long with the court open. He did manage one crowd-pleasing shot from between the legs that went back into play, only for Djokovic to win the point and take the opening set in 37 minutes.
To the delight of the crowd, the second set suddenly became a real contest just as everyone was preparing for another routine success by Djokovic, who had sauntered into a 4-1 lead as Mannarino continued to make unforced errors.
We will see about the shoulder. It’s something I have been dragging around for a while
The French player needed to get nearer the baseline to make his clever forehand variations of angle and pace effective against the former champion, who was showing his famed ability to slide on any surface.
Mannarino brought some order to the chaos Djokovic was causing by holding serve and then stunned the Serb by breaking his seemingly impregnable serve in the seventh game with a clever backhand slice that kept low and ended one of the longest rallies of the match.
The crowd were warming to Mannarino, who delivered a backhand winner by leaping off the ground and hammering the ball wide of Djokovic’s racket. With Mannarino now operating much closer to the baseline, he was taking away time for Djokovic to set up his returns and the tie-break arrived with both players reaching new heights in their levels of play.
Djokovic has much the better record in tie-breaks, but five points went against serve in a row. However, the former champion eventually prevailed, taking the tie-break 7-5 as Mannarino failed to handle the pressure.
Djokovic had to save two break points at the start of the third set and was getting frustrated with the court. He angrily thumped a ball in to the turf near the baseline after losing one rally.
His next emotional response was a loud scream of triumph as he somehow reached a backhand at full stretch and guided the ball down the line for a winner, and a break of serve, to lead 2-1. With Djokovic visibly struggling to find his full serving power, it was no surprise that he called for the trainer and took a medical timeout on his shoulder, with the score 4-3 in his favour. He only reached 114mph during his next service game but held things together to clinch victory on his third match point.
Djokovic must now concentrate on the challenge Berdych will pose and added: “I have done it in straight sets and that's all that matters. So I try to look forward to the next challenge and Berdych beat me here in semis in 2010. It was I think his first Grand Slam final. Obviously he's been around many years and is an established top 10 player: big game, flat shots, which are pretty good for this surface obviously where the ball bounces quite low.
“He is 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 and has got experience. For me, it's important to start off well and hopefully I can execute that.”