Djokovic comes through injury scare
Novak Djokovic came through a third-set injury scare to battle past Gilles Simon 6-4 6-2 6-4 on Centre Court at Wimbledon.
With neither man's first serve fully firing in a back-and-forth match that saw 10 breaks of serve, the top seed beat Simon in two hours and 12 minutes to remain on course for a semi-final meeting with defending champion Andy Murray.
There was concern in Djokovic's player's box when he fell in the sixth game of the third set, however, after he slipped and fell badly on his left shoulder.
But after some treatment from the trainer, Djokovic returned to close out the victory.
"It was a sharp pain when I fell, it was an awkward fall," said Djokovic. "I was just hoping it was nothing bad with the joint. Luckily there was no damage to the joint and I could play after that. It was just the muscle that was sore.
"In important moments I played well though I lost a few service games, I was up and down throughout the match. The third set could've gone either way, but in important moments I came up with the right shots."
Djokovic next faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who raced past Jimmy Wang 6-2 6-2 7-5 in what was his fifth day in a row on court.
"Now there's two days off and I'll try to recover and get ready," added Djokovic. "Next up is Tsonga, it's going to be a great match.
"I remember our two matches here on Centre Court in the semi-finals in 2011 and at the Olympics. He's a great grass-court player, he loves the energy of the big stadium and it's definitely going to be a big challenge."
"The goal is to do my dance at the end [against Djokovic]," Tsonga said after his win. "But before that there are many steps."
Djokovic wasted his first break point at 3-2 up in the first set, sending a forehand long before Simon gifted him a two-game lead with an unforced error. However, Simon hit straight back, hitting a superb backhand down the line on break point which Djokovic could only dig out into the net.
Djokovic then went long to miss out on a second break in a row and Simon wasted two chances to close out the game himself before finally levelling the set again at 4-4. The top seed then held serve before pouncing to take his first set point when Simon went wayward with a passing shot.
Djokovic broke in the fourth game of the second set for a 3-1 lead but Simon offered the perfect response as he broke back to love.
Remarkably, Simon immediately offered up three break points to Djokovic, who went long on the first before the Frenchman fired a passing winner. A forehand to the back of the court set Djokovic up for a simply volley at the net to break again, though.
A fine passing winner gained Djokovic a set point before Simon double faulted to hand him a two-set lead.
Simon showed he wasn't down and out, however, by breaking immediately in the third and holding for a 2-0 lead. Back came Djokovic, though, as he broke back at the first opportunity to level the third set. At break point down on his next service game, Djokovic pulled off a sliding return that Simon could only hit into the net, before the top seed closed it out for a big hold.
Djokovic then had to call for the trainer in the next game after slipping and landing badly on his left shoulder. When play eventually resumed, Simon held for 3-3. The trainer's treatment looked to have done the trick as Djokovic held and brought up two break points, though both were defended by Simon before he levelled the set again. Djokovic then held before finding the breakthrough to take the final set 6-4.
Meanwhile, Feliciano Lopez beat Ante Pavic 6-4 7-6(4) 7-5 in six minutes short of two hours to set up a third round meeting with big-serving John Isner. Lopez improves to 11-1 on grass this year, having retained his title in Eastbourne after reaching the Queen's final.
Queen's champion Grigor Dimitrov survived a stern test to see off Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-7(3) 6-4 2-6 6-4 6-1 in five minutes short of three hours on No.1 Court.
In another five-set epic on Friday, Jerzy Janowicz, who was beaten by Murray in last year's semi-finals, edged Lleyton Hewitt 7-5 6-4 6-7(9) 4-6 6-3 in three hours and 47 minutes.
Hewitt has now played more five-set matches - 42 - in grand slams than anyone in the Open Era, surpassing the record set by Andre Agassi.
The was an upset on No.3 Court when 26th seed Marin Cilic edged sixth seed and former finalist Tomas Berdych 7-6(5) 6-4 7-6(6).
In a second-round match carried over from Thursday due to rain, Santiago Giraldo outlasted Marcel Granollers 4-6 7-6(2) 1-6 6-1 7-5.