Favourite Novak Djokovic trailed for the first time at this year’s Wimbledon but responded in brutal fashion to beat Andrey Rublev 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-3 to reach the semi-finals on Tuesday.
Inspired seventh seed Rublev snatched the opening set but it was akin to poking a sleeping grizzly bear as Djokovic exacted painful punishment to stay on track for a fifth straight title.
Rublev played some brilliant tennis that would have accounted for pretty much any other player in the world.
But it was not enough to stop the 36-year-old Djokovic reaching his 46th Grand Slam semi-final, equalling the record of eight-time champion Roger Federer.
Second seed Djokovic will face Jannik Sinner in his 12th Wimbledon semi-final after the Italian also beat a Russian opponent in Roman Safiullin earlier on Tuesday.
Rublev broke serve in the eighth game courtesy of a couple of beefy forehands and held serve thanks to a Djokovic error to win the opening set.
It seemed a first win in a Grand Slam quarter-final at the eighth attempt was possible – even against a man without a Centre Court loss for a decade.
But Djokovic quickly reasserted his authority to race through a one-sided second set.
The Serbian was in control as he broke serve early in the third set but Rublev was not done and Djokovic was stretched to his elastic-limbed limits when serving at 5-4.
He fended off three break points and needing five set points in a sensational game to move within a set of his 33rd successive Wimbledon win.
Briefly deflated, the 25-year-old Rublev fell 3-1 behind in the fourth set and there was no coming back.
Djokovic wrapped up the win in his 400th Grand Slam match, a milestone reached only by Federer and Serena Williams.