On Thursday Novak Djokovic defeated a spirited American Donald Young 6-2, 7-6 (11/9) to book semi-final berth at the Eastbourne pre-Wimbledon event. The Serb is competing during the week before Wimbledon for the first time in seven years.

“The first set went my way and I played good, I felt good on the court,” Djokovic said. “It was very close second set. Obviously could have gone easily his way.”

“I’m just glad the way I held my composure, my nerves. This is the kind of match situation that I was looking forward to have, and I’m glad it happened today and managed to overcome it.”

The top seed is rebuilding for Wimbledon after a disappointing year by his world class standards has hopes from the grass court major as an immediate success.

“There is always something that is going on (around the sport). But we are not robots. We are humans. We have to deal with those things,” said the three-time Wimbledon champion. “Actually, those adversities that we have to face on the court and challenges are actually there to be presented as an opportunity for us to learn, to get stronger, to grow from that experience.”

Fourth seed and title-holder Steve Johnson finished won his match with Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano with a score line 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. Second seed Gael Monfils overcame Briton Cameron Norrie 6-3, 6-2 while number three John Isner staged a thrilling comeback to defeat Dusan Lajovic 3-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/4).

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Australian Bernard Tomic unsettled sixth seed Mischa Zverev 6-3, 6-2 as Richard Gasquet, seeded seventh, beat Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4.

Women’s top seed Angelique Kerber cruised ahead by beating Lara Arruabarrena 6-2, 6-1 in the first of her two matches on the day. Third seed Karolina Pliskova advanced tolast eight thrashing China’s Peng Shuai 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 while sixth seed Caroline Wozniacki demolished Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-2.

Double Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova beat French ninth seed Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.