Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic reaches final, will face Matteo Berrettini

The Serbian defeated Denis Shapovalov in three hard-fought sets, while Berrettini became the first Italian to reach the singles final at The Championships.

Novak Djokovic in action during Wimbledon; Credit: [email protected]

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic reached his seventh Wimbledon final, defeating 10th seed Denis Shapovalov 7-6, 7-5, 7-5 on Friday. He has now set up a championship showdown against seventh seed Matteo Berrettini and moved within one victory of securing a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title. Currently, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are tied with 20 Grand Slam crowns to their name. The Serbian rallied from a break down in the first set and survived two other closely-fought sets to win the match after two hours and 44 minutes. He has not lost a set since his first set of the tournament against Jack Draper.

A victory on Sunday will give the Serbian his third major trophy of the season after bagging the Australian Open and French Open titles. Earlier, the 10th seed broke Djokovic in his second return game of the match. He then got into an impressive serving rhythm as the top seed struggled to find a way back in. But when the Canadian served for the first set at 5-4, Djokovic fought back to level the score. In the ensuing tie-break, the 19-time Grand Slam champion proved too good for Shapovalov.

The second set was another closely fought battle, with both players doing incredibly well to hold on to their service games. Towards the end of the set, the World No.12 double-faulted to give away the break. Djokovic closed out the second set but was unable to gain an advantage in the third set. It was another neck-to-neck battle, however, at 5-5, the Canadian once again slipped. After winning the crucial break, Djokovic served out the match in the next game with his seventh ace.

Matteo Berrettini enters final

Seventh seed Matteo Berrettini prevailed over Hubert Hurkacz in a battle of first-time Wimbledon semifinalists. The Italian became the first player – man or woman – from his country to reach the singles final at The Championships after registering a 6-3, 6-0, 6-7, 6-4 victory on Friday. Berrettini did not lose his serve across four sets and saved both of the break points he faced on Centre Court. On his way to his first Grand Slam final, the Italian hit 60 winners, including 22 aces.

“I have no words, really, just thanks. I need a couple of hours to understand what happened,” Berrettini said on court. “I played a great match. I enjoyed the crowd, my family and whole team are there. I think I never dreamed about this, because it was too much for a dream.”

A victory in the final would make him the first Italian man to lift a Grand Slam trophy since Adriano Panatta’s triumph at French Open in 1976. “[My] first Slam final, I’m just so, so happy for everything. My year started in a good way, with the finals in ATP Cup. Then I got injured again. I kind of saw those ghosts again of my body kind of struggling,” Berrettini said in his post-match press conference.

“Again, I came back stronger. I think I fully deserve to be here. I want to enjoy like I did today. I want to enjoy my first final. Whoever’s going to win today, I just appreciate what’s happening. So I’m very happy.”

Quick start

Earlier, Berrettini quickly got going on Centre Court as Hurkacz, who defeated World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and childhood idol Roger Federer en route to the last four, struggled to recover ground. From 3-3, Berrettini won four games in a row to clinch the first set. The Italian then won the second set without losing a game as Hurkacz quickly found himself down two sets to love after just 58 minutes.

The Pole fought back in the third set but struggled to break Berrettini’s service games. Hurkacz survived the tie-beak to take the match into a fourth set. The Italian responded strongly to the disappointment with an early break. Berrettini then closed out the victory after two hours and 36 minutes.

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