Djokovic beats Anderson in 5 to reach Wimbledon quarters
LONDON (AP) - Novak Djokovic survived a one-set shootout with big-serving Kevin Anderson on Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinals and keep up his bid for a third Wimbledon title.
The top-ranked Djokovic beat the 14th-seeded South African 7-5 in the fifth set on Court 1 to complete a match that had been suspended by darkness at two sets apiece.
It took 45 minutes of play Tuesday for Djokovic to advance to his 25th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal with a 6-7 (6), 6-7 (6), 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 victory. He will next face Croatia's Marin Cilic, a player he has beaten in all 12 of their previous matches.
''I was two sets down. To come back and win in five definitely gives me great satisfaction and confidence for the next challenge,'' Djokovic said. ''It was frustrating at times, especially today, but I managed to go through, and that's what matters.''
Djokovic struggled throughout the match in trying to tame the 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Anderson's huge serve, but broke him to go up 6-5 in the fifth set to set up his victory.
''Kevin served exceptionally well,'' Djokovic said. ''I find that this was one of the most difficult matches I've played at Wimbledon, maybe in my career. At times, I was really helpless with my return.''
Anderson finished with 40 aces, including three in the first game of the fifth set and eight overall in the decider.
But it was two consecutive double-faults by Anderson that proved crucial, leaving him 15-40 down in the 11th game. Djokovic took advantage on the first break point, hitting a forehand return that dropped sharply at Anderson's feet and forced an error.
Djokovic served out the match in the next game, helped by two return errors from Anderson.
''The couple double-faults didn't help my cause in the end,'' Anderson said. ''Had a couple small opportunities in that last game at love-30. I missed a couple second serve returns. Small margins make a difference in a match like that.''
With the loss, Anderson became the first player in the Open era to reach the fourth round at Grand Slam tournaments seven times without ever advancing to the quarterfinals.
''Coming into this week, it was definitely my goal to progress further than I have at the Slams,'' Anderson said. ''Been in the Round of 16 a few times. Came a lot closer this time than I have in the past. But just wasn't close enough.''