Novak Djokovic going to Wimbledon semifinals after Alex de Minaur withdraws

WIMBLEDON, England — Alex de Minaur heard a crack close to the end of his fourth-round match Monday and knew immediately something was wrong. The 25-year-old Aussie had just reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the first time in his career, but from across the court he appeared to be telling the team in his player box, “I can’t play.”

De Minaur, who was seeded ninth, withdrew ahead of his quarterfinal match against Novak Djokovic on Wednesday morning after a scan confirmed he had a tear in his hip cartilage, handing the 37-year-old Djokovic a walkover into the semifinals.

Djokovic will face either 13th-seeded American Taylor Fritz or 25th-seeded Italian Lorenzo Musetti, who face off on Court No. 1 later Wednesday.

De Minaur is a genial tour veteran who is in the middle of perhaps his best season to date, having made the quarterfinals of the French Open and a clay-court tournament in Monte Carlo that is rated one level beneath a Grand Slam.

Instead of battling Djokovic, he joins a long list of players who have had to retire or withdraw because of injury this fortnight, including third-seeded Aryna Sabalenka, Madison Keys and Grigor Dimitrov.

One player having no issues with fitness? That would be Djokovic, who despite having surgery to repair the torn medial meniscus in his knee on June 5 is still in the hunt to tie Roger Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon championships, the most won by a man, and win a record 25th Grand Slam title, which would be the most ever won by a man or woman. He is currently tied with Margaret Court, who won most of her major titles before the start of the Open era in 1968.

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