(Corrects game of 45-shot rally in fourth para)
By Mitch Phillips
LONDON, July 12 (Reuters) - Top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic held off a spirited challenge from Spanish outsider Roberto Bautista Agut on Friday to triumph in four sets and advance to Sunday’s Wimbledon final against either Roger Federer or Rafa Nadal.
Remarkably the 6-2 4-6 6-3 6-2 success was the Serb’s 12th victory in his last 13 Grand Slam semi-finals and he will be seeking his fifth title at Wimbledon and 16th Grand Slam singles crown in the latest installment of the Big Three showdown.
Djokovic won the first set relatively comfortably but was pegged back in the second as 23rd-seed Bautista Agut, appearing in his first Grand Slam semi and buoyed by winning the pair’s last two meetings, upped his serving and took advantage of some uncharacteristic errors from the hot favourite.
The match turned on an amazing 45-shot rally in the seventh game of the third set, which Djokovic won to hold serve – and from then on he took total control.
Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Ken Ferris