Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic into semifinals after rally from two sets down

Novak Djokovic
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Novak Djokovic escaped from a two-set deficit for his 26th consecutive Wimbledon match win, rallying past Italian Jannik Sinner 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 into the semifinals.

Sinner, a 20-year-old Italian seeded 10th, was in position for his first victory over a top-five player in his 13th try. But things unraveled, starting with being broken in his second service game of the third set. Djokovic, meanwhile, held serve throughout the last three sets.

The top-ranked Serb cited a toilet break — a “little pep talk in the mirror” — after losing the first two sets that helped turn it around.

“Sinner, coming into the match, didn’t have much to lose, but he had a lot to lose when he was two sets to love up,” Djokovic said. “I could feel that mentally with him.”

Djokovic, bidding for a fourth consecutive Wimbledon title and 21st career major singles title, advanced to a Friday semifinal date with No. 9 seed Cameron Norrie of Great Britain, who took out 58th-ranked David Goffin of Belgium in five sets.

“I know what to expect in terms of the crowd support,” Djokovic said of Norrie, the fourth British man to make the Wimbledon semis in the Open Era (since 1968). “For him, not much to lose. Every victory from now onwards is a big deal for him.”

Rafael Nadal, the record 22-time men’s major singles champion, is in the other half of the draw. Nadal plays No. 11 Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Djokovic has just one defeat in a completed Wimbledon match in nearly nine years (Sam Querrey, 2016) and no losses in a completed match to a man seeded lower than fifth at any Slam since the 2018 French Open (Marco Cecchinato).

Dating to 2003, every Wimbledon men’s singles champion has been a member of the Big Four: Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

WIMBLEDON DRAWS: Women | Men

At last year’s Wimbledon, Djokovic won a third consecutive major and 20th overall to then tie Nadal and Federer for the men’s career record. He was denied a Grand Slam by Russian Danill Medvedev at the U.S. Open, denied entry into the Australian Open because of his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and lost in the French Open quarterfinals to Nadal.

Nadal now owns a record 22 major titles after winning the last two. Djokovic cannot pass Nadal until 2023 at the earliest, and he might have to miss the next two majors — the U.S. Open and Australian Open — because of his refusal to get vaccinated.

“What happens after Wimbledon is really unpredictable at the moment, so I don’t pay attention too much to that,” Djokovic said. “I try to focus my thoughts here, and then we will see what happens afterwards.”

Earlier, Tatjana Maria, a 34-year-old mother of two ranked No. 103, beat 97th-ranked Jule Niemeier 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 in an all-German quarterfinal. It marked the lowest combined ranking of an all-unseeded Wimbledon quarterfinal since 1999 (Alexandra Stevenson d. Jelena Dokic).

“I always believed that I have something inside that I can do this,” said Maria, who has an 8-year-old daughter, Charlotte, and 1-year-old daughter, Cecilia. “I always believed in this, but to be now here in this spot … I mean, like I said, one year ago I gave birth to my second daughter.”

Maria, who made it past the second round once in 46 prior majors (including qualifying) dating to 2007, is the oldest first-time women’s major semifinalist in the Open Era. She is also the lowest-ranked unseeded Wimbledon semifinalist since 2008.

Maria emphasized her role as a mom supersedes her greatest accomplishment in tennis.

“After this I will go out over there and I will see my kids and I will do the same thing what I do every single day,” she said. “I will change her Pampers.”

She next gets No. 3 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, who rallied from a set down to beat 66th-ranked Czech Marie Bouzkova in the quarterfinals. Jabeur was the only top-10 women’s seed to make the final eight.

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Aleksander Aamodt Kilde wins Beaver Creek downhill

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde
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BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won his second straight World Cup downhill race to start the season, despite feeling under the weather.

Although dealing with an illness all week in training, Kilde powered through the challenging Birds of Prey course Saturday in a time of 1 minute, 42.09 seconds. It was enough to hold off Marco Odermatt of Switzerland by 0.06 seconds. James Crawford of Canada was third to earn his second career World Cup podium finish.

Kilde also won the opening downhill last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta.

“It’s been a tough week,” Kilde said after the race. “I caught the flu in Lake Louise after a very, very nice weekend. It really hit me hard. Then I got a couple of days to rest and take it easy. … I felt OK. Still feeling it a little bit in my system.”

The Beaver Creek crew members had the course in solid shape a day after a downhill race was canceled due to high wind and snowfall.

ALPINE SKIING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Kilde reached speeds around 75 mph in picking up his eighth World Cup downhill victory. That tied him with Kjetil Jansrud for the third-most downhill wins in the World Cup discipline among Norwegian men. The total trails only Aksel Lund Svindal (14) and Lasse Kjus (10).

“I found a really, really good set-up with my equipment and also with my skiing,” Kilde explained. “I believe in myself. I trust in myself. I have a good game plan. When I stand on the start, I don’t dwell on anything. I know that this plan is what I do and when I do that it’s going to be fast.”

Odermatt has been on the podium in all four World Cup races this season as he tries to defend his overall World Cup title. The 25-year-old finished third in the opening downhill of the season last weekend. He’s also won a giant slalom race and a super-G.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle wound up in seventh place for the top American finish. He was ninth in the downhill in Lake Louise.

“It’s been solid,” Cochran-Siegle said of his strides in the discipline. “A couple of little things here and there that pushed me off that top three. You have to ski with a lot of intensity and ski without abandon, in a sense. Today was a good step.”

Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, who won the Olympic downhill gold medal at the Beijing Games last February, tied for ninth.

The Beaver Creek stop on the circuit comes to a close Sunday with a super-G race. Odermatt will be the favorite after holding off Kilde in the opening super-G last weekend.

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Summer McIntosh, Canadian teen swimmer, caps record year with another historic time

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Summer McIntosh swam the fourth-fastest 400m individual medley in history on Friday, capping a year that already included world titles, Commonwealth Games titles and a victory over Katie Ledecky.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old Canadian whose mom swam at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, won the 400m IM in 4 minutes, 28.61 seconds at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C. She prevailed by a Ledecky-like 13.24 seconds, breaking her own national record that was previously the fourth-fastest time in history.

“It’s still pretty early in the season, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into it,” she said on Peacock.

The only two women who ever went faster in the event known as the decathlon of swimming are Olympic gold medalists: Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (world record 4:26.36 and 4:28.58) and China’s Ye Shiwen (4:28.43).

McIntosh has come a long way in a short time. Three years ago, she put all her eggs in the 1500m freestyle basket, thinking it was her best shot to merely qualify for the Tokyo Games in 2020. The one-year Olympic postponement was a blessing.

The rapidly improving McIntosh swam three individual events in Tokyo with a top finish of fourth in the 400m free, just missing becoming the youngest swimming medalist since 1996. She then told her coach she wanted to become an IMer.

At this past June’s world championships, McIntosh won two of the most grueling events — 400m IM and 200m butterfly — to become the youngest individual world champion since 2011. She also took silver to Ledecky in the 400m free, an event in which she later beat Ledecky in a short-course meet (25-meter pool rather than the 50-meter pool used for the Olympics).

A month after worlds, McIntosh swept the IMs at the Commonwealth Games, where she broke more world junior records and again took second in the 400m free (this time to Olympic champ and world record holder Ariarne Titmus of Australia).

McIntosh, who turned professional last year, now trains full-time in Sarasota, Florida, where she rents a house with her mom, Jill Horstead, who was ninth in the 200m fly at the 1984 Olympics (McIntosh, whose passions include the Kardashians and plants from Target, has seen video of her mom winning the B final at those Games). They’re a three-hour drive down Interstate 75 from Ledecky’s base in Gainesville.

Also Friday, Erin Gemmell celebrated her 18th birthday by nearly becoming the first American to beat Ledecky in a 200m freestyle in nearly nine years. Ledecky won by 42 hundredths of a second in 1:56.74 and said she had an off-day while also praising Gemmell, the daughter of her former coach.

NBC airs U.S. Open highlights on Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

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