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Djokovic Fends Off Haas Challenge To Set Berdych QF

Wimbledon, England

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic is yet to drop a set in four matches at Wimbledon.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic passed his toughest test yet at The Championships as he beat the No. 13-ranked Tommy Haas on Monday in the fourth round. The Serb had lost both their previous grass-court meetings in 2009, but was in impressive form as he defeated Haas 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(4) to reach his 17th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final.

"He's always tough," said Djokovic. "Coming into this match I knew I had a bad record against him on grass. He's a grass specialist, he has great variety in game, can come to net. It was a tough challenge for me, but I played a really, really good match."

The 26-year-old Djokovic will face Tomas Berdych on Wednesday as he looks to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals for the fourth year in a row. He went on to lift the trophy in 2011, defeating Rafael Nadal in the final. The Serb is bidding to win his seventh Grand Slam title and second of the season after triumphing at the Australian Open in January (d. Murray). He was beaten in the semi-finals at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal).

"I lost to him the only time we played on grass back in 2010," said Djokovic. "I think that I am playing really, really good tennis at this moment. Maybe even better than 2011, when I won this tournament. I am confident on the court and trying to maintain this level. I hope I will succeed."

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Djokovic is yet to drop a set on his route through to the last eight at Wimbledon. The Belgrade native made a flying start to his contest against Haas, whom he also beat in the Roland Garros quarter-finals one month ago. The first set was over in 25 minutes, before Haas was able to find his way into the match. 

The 35-year-old German halted Djokovic’s momentum with a break in the fifth game, but his lead was shortlived. Djokovic reeled off four of the next five games to secure a two-set lead. Djokovic broke for a 4-2 advantage in the third set, but needed to fend off a late fightback from Haas. The German produced some of his best tennis of the match as he broke Djokovic when he served for victory in the 10th game, but the Serb restored order to prevail in the subsequent tie-break after two hours and 12 minutes.

Djokovic made Haas play on 81 per cent of his return points and hit 40 winners, including 13 aces. "It was never going to be as easy as the first set," said Djokovic. "I knew he was going to start playing better. I had to work for my games. I was serving well and returning exceptionally good in important moments. I had a minor setback at 5-3, serving for match at 30/0. He got back into it. I'm really glad I closed it out in three sets."

BerdychDjokovic has a commanding 13-2 FedEx ATP Head2Head record over Berdych, but was beaten by the Czech in their most recent meeting in the Rome quarter-finals two months ago. Berdych’s other victory came in the 2010 Wimbledon semi-finals, their only grass-court meeting.

Berdych was also tested in a 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4 victory over Australia’s Bernard Tomic. The 27-year-old Berdych is bidding to reach his second Grand Slam final, having finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal in the final at the All England Club in 2010. He hit 68 winners, including 24 aces, as he fought past Tomic in just under three hours.

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