Wimbledon 2015: Novak Djokovic beats Kevin Anderson

By Chris BevanBBC Sport at Wimbledon
Djokovic beats Anderson in five sets
Wimbledon 2015
Dates: Until 12 July
Play: 11:30 BST outside courts; 13:00 Centre Court and Court One
BBC coverage: Live across TV, radio and online with up to 15 live streams

Defending champion Novak Djokovic reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon by completing his comeback from two sets down to beat Kevin Anderson.

Djokovic had levelled at two sets all when bad light stopped play on Monday.

He struggled to find his rhythm when the match resumed on Tuesday after a delay because of rain.

But the world number one and top seed finally got to grips with the big-serving South African to win 6-7 (6-8) 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 6-4 7-5.

Novak Djokovic
Djokovic had not dropped a set in any of his three previous matches at this year's Wimbledon

"Kevin served exceptionally well," said Djokovic. "This was one of the most difficult matches I have played at Wimbledon in my career.

"It was high-quality tennis in the fifth set. At times I was helpless with my return - it was very difficult to read his serve and he was very aggressive.

"I was two sets down and coming back to win gives me great satisfaction and confidence for my next challenge."

John Lloyd, former British number one
"I think Novak didn't really enjoy the match up until the match point when the ball went wide. It is a nasty match for him. It was mentally fatiguing for him to see someone hit big serves time after time. He did not get into any rhythm and will be so relieved to get through the match."

Djokovic was on top when play was halted on Monday but he took time to get into his stride after returning to Court One to fight out the deciding set.

The match was delayed by half an hour because of rain but Anderson quickly got his booming serve into gear, firing down three aces in the first game.

Novak Djokovic's match with Kevin Anderson was delayed by rain
Djokovic looks up to the sky as his match with Kevin Anderson is delayed by rain

In contrast, Djokovic had to fight to avoid being broken early on, and his frustration was obvious as another shower threatened to bring another pause in play only for the rain to quickly pass.

In the sixth game of the deciding set, Djokovic appeared to aggressively shout 'Towel' at a startled ball girl after a a 20-shot rally concluded with him netting with a forehand.

Djokovic said: "I'm sorry. There was nothing towards her. Maybe she was just afraid of my screaming there. I'm definitely going to try to apologise to her if I did something wrong."

It was not long until Djokovic had Anderson in trouble when the 6ft 8in right-hander saw his serve falter for the first time.

Two double-faults at 5-5 gave Djokovic his first chance to break in the decider, and he did not miss his opportunity.

Karlovic leads way in aces race
Kevin Anderson hit a total of 40 aces in his match against Novak Djokovic, giving him a tournament total of 119.
He is only second on the Wimbledon leaderboard, however. Top of the tree is Ivo Karlovic, who lost to Andy Murray on Monday. The Croatian managed 165 aces in his four matches.
In third place is Marin Cilic, who is Djokovic's next opponent. He needs one more ace to bring up his century at SW19 in 2015.

He held his arms aloft and blew a kiss towards the sky after serving out his victory after 44 minutes back on court, in a match that lasted a total of three hours and 46 minutes.

Djokovic will play ninth seed Marin Cilic in the last eight. The Croatian also took him to five sets when they met at the same stage at SW19 in 2014.

Hawk-Eye analysis of Novak Djokovic's second serve
Hawk-Eye analysis: Djokovic's second serve direction
With Djokovic's usual impeccable return game being off colour against the big serving South African, it was imperative that he dealt with proceedings on his own serve. He was only broken once in the entire five sets, and it was quality of the Serb's second serve that was particularly impressive.
He won 69% of his second serve points throughout the match, with this increasing to 80% over the course of the final three sets. The graphic illustrates where each of his second serves landed, and the variation to both boxes made it extremely difficult for Anderson to return.
30% of his second serves were not returned, which is a phenomenal figure, and it remained strong even in the final game of the match when Novak produced two magnificent second serves into the body of the Anderson, neither of which came back into play.