De Minaur’s Withdrawal Propels Djokovic To 13th Wimbledon Semifinals

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Novak Djokovic’s smooth progression through the Wimbledon bracket got easier on Wednesday, when he moved into his record-tying 13th semifinal at the tournament via a walkover after his quarterfinal opponent, Alex de Minaur.

De Minau, pulled out from the tournament due to a hip injury.

The Australian who was seeded ninth at the All England Club, announced he was pulling out of the tournament hours before he and Djokovic were scheduled to play each other at Centre Court.

“Obviously not an announcement I wanted to make, by any means,” de Minaur said at a news conference. “I’m devastated.”

Djokovic who also had knee surgery less than a month before the start of play at the All England Club, raised questions about whether he’d even be able to try to earn his eighth championship at the grass-court major and add to his men’s mark of 24 Grand Slam trophies.

However, despite limitations on movement, the 37-year-old Djokovic has dropped only two sets so far, while facing a qualifier in the first round, a wild-card entrant in the second and only one seeded player, No. 15 Holger Rune.

Djokovic was supposed to go up against No. 9 de Minaur on Wednesday, but instead will get three full days off before Friday’s semifinals.

More eventful for Djokovic has been his interactions with some spectators at Centre Court.

After beating Rune in straight sets on Monday, Djokovic told fans that a group of them showed “disrespect” toward him with the way they were cheering.

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His next match will come against No. 13 Taylor Fritz of the United States or No. 25 Lorenzo Musetti of Italy.

Fritz and Musetti were scheduled to play their quarterfinal on Wednesday.

The women’s quarterfinals Wednesday were 2022 champion Elena Rybakina vs. No. 21 Elina Svitolina, and No. 13 Jelena Ostapenko vs. No. 31 Barbora Krejcikova in a matchup between two past title winners at the French Open.

No man has made it to as many Grand Slam semifinals as Djokovic’s 49 where he and Roger Federer are the only men with 13 appearances in the final four at Wimbledon.

De Minaur’s exit is the latest to come because of injury in Week 2 of the tournament.

Players who stopped competing in the middle of fourth-round matches because they were hurt include No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov in the men’s draw, and No. 12 Madison Keys and No. 17 Anna Kalinskaya in the women category.

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