The anger was back and so too might be Novak Djokovic. For all the tantrums and warnings, he emerged victorious in one of the matches of the Championships so far to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals.
Credit to Kei Nishikori – the world No 28 from Japan played a superb match.
Just like his third-round match with Kyle Edmund, he suffered a scare, and just like that game he lost his temper before prevailing. In this instance, he was enraged by a code violation for bouncing his racket in the second set and got chippy again with the chair when Nishikori escaped sanction for the same offence in the fourth.
His brushes with the umpire continued when he was given a time violation as he moved towards winning the match, but it was not enough to destabilise the three-time champion. He will next face the winner of Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro.
If his play matches the levels he reached in this match, there is every chance that his two-year wait for a 13th Slam will end.
The first set laid the foundation, given its mixture of broken serves and exceptional rallies.
Nishikori was the first to waver, giving up a break to go 3-1 down but he hit back in the very next game and was blitzing winners until another wobble at 3-4 gave Djokovic a 5-3 lead. The Serbian served out the set in 37 minutes.
The match cranked up in the second. Djokovic failed to take a break point in the opening game and then blew a 0-40 lead at 1-1, prompting him to hit the turf with his racket. The umpire issued a code violation and a riled Djokovic spent the entire changeover arguing the point.
The effect on the three-time champion was that he was broken in the next game for 3-1 and Nishikori kept the advantage through the set, taking it 6-3. By this stage, through two sets of magnificently long rallies, Djokovic and Nishikori had made 17 winners each.
For his part, Djokovic made only five unforced errors in dropping the set.
The third was no less entertaining. Nishikori, who had heavy strapping on his elbow, needed an early medical timeout, but was on the brink of breaking through at 2-2, 0-40.
However, in a mirror of Djokovic’s second-set collapse, Nishikori failed to convert and was then broken himself in the next game for 4-2. Another break at 5-2 gave Djokovic the set.