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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, July 12, 2017

 
Novak Djokovic

Tomas Berdych built a 7-6, 2-0 lead when Novak Djokovic retired from their Wimbledon quarterfinal with an arm injury sending Berdych into the semifinals.

Photo credit: Ashley Western/CameraSport

A right elbow injury prompted Novak Djokovic to pull the plug on the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

Tomas Berdych held a 7-6 (2), 2-0, 15-love lead when the second-seeded Djokovic walked to net and shook hands retiring after 63 minutes of play on Court No. 1.

Watch: Querrey Overpowers Murray Reaches Wimbledon Semifinals

"It’s the elbow that keeps bothering me over a year and a half,” Djokovic said. "It’s unfortunate I had to finish Wimbledon, a Grand Slam this way. If someone feels bad about it, it’s me.

"I tried what I could do yesterday getting in the condition that I’m able to play. I was able for maybe 30 minutes to play with some pain that was bearable let’s call it that way. All the treatments couldn’t really help. The serve was one of the shots where I could feel I the most. After that there was really no sense (of continuing)."

Snapping a 12-match losing streak to Djokovic, Berdych burst into his second straight Wimbledon semifinal and third overall.

The 2010 Wimbledon runner-up will face seven-time champion Roger Federer, who swept 2016 finalist Milos Raonic, for a spot in Sunday’s final.


"I'm probably in the best possible situation I can be right now," Berdych said. "I had a pretty good run so far. Yeah, today I think was a little bonus of all the matches before. That's just how it is.

"Really, I cannot be in the better position before the Friday's match."



World No. 2 Djokovic took a medical time-out for treatment of his right elbow injury after losing the opening set today.

Chronic arm pain slowed Djokovic’s serve and seemed to diminish his explosive backhand. Djokovic’s average first-serve speed today was 107 mph with his fastest serve clocking in at 114 mph.

Djokovic, who took three medical time-outs for treatment of his arm in his fourth-round win over Adrian Mannarino, was grimacing and shaking his arm at times today. Afterward, he conceded the schedule, which forced him to play two days in a row, didn't help the state of his creaky elbow.

"Those kind of particular circumstances don't really help," Djokovic said. "At the end of the day the kind of the situation you have to accept. I try to make the most of it. I spent two hours, about two-and-a-half hours on the (trainer's) table in between warm-up trying to do everything I possibly could to make me fit. It wasn’t to be.

"If you’re an athlete, especially in an individual sport, there’s no way out if you don’t feel fit. That’s it. There’s no one there to come and save you."

Djokovic's departure, which came a couple of hours after defending champion Andy Murray was bounced in five sets by Sam Querrey, leaves Federer as the only Big 4 player still standing. Djokovic, Murray, Federer and Rafael Nadal combined to claim 14 of the last 15 Wimbledon championships.

Serving with authority, Berdych won 21 of 23 points played on his first serve and did not face a break point in the opening set that stayed on serve throughout.

Berdych burst out to a 4-1 tie break lead when Djokovic netted a rally ball. A wild backhand return off a second serve left Djokovic shaking his right arm and staring down a 1-5 hole.

Nudging a slice backhand into net, Djokovic gave Berdych a handful of set points. Hitting for placement rather than power on serve, Djokovic netted a stretch forehand volley.

Playing solid baseline tennis, Berdych snapped his streak of 14 consecutive sets lost to Djokovic in taking a set from the Serbian for the first time since the second set of the 2015 Monte Carlo Masters.




Dropping a set for the first time in the tournament, Djokovic took a three-minute medical timeout for treatment of his right arm. The trainer vigorously massaged the three-time champion’s right forearm and elbow.

When play resumed, Berdych strong-armed his way through a love hold.

The second seed completely lost the plot squandering a 40-love lead in a tame game that saw him pushing his serve. Berdych flattened a backhand off the baseline breaking for 2-0.

One point later, Djokovic closed the curtain on his Wimbledon. For the fourth time in his last five Grand Slam appearances, Djokovic has failed to reach the final four and now confronts question over what could be a chronic arm issue.

 

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