Novak Djokovic to face Matteo Berrettini in Wimbledon final

Djokovic, the top-ranked player in the world, will face Berrettini in the Wimbledon final. The Serbian player, who has won the last four Wimbledon titles, will take on Berrettini, who has had a terrific tournament, winning his first Grand Slam title in the men’s doubles.

Novak Djokovic will face Matteo Berrettini on Sunday in the Wimbledon final. Djokovic, the world No. 1 player, has won both sets in the semi-finals and the third set in the first final he has reached this year, having been beaten by Milos Raonic in the Australian Open final in January. He has not lost a quarter-final at Wimbledon since 2006.

Novak Djokovic keeps winning: 20 consecutive Wimbledon wins since the start of the 2018 tournament, 20 consecutive victories in all Grand Slam matches since the start of this season.

If both turn 21 on Sunday, Djokovic will have achieved what he has been trying to achieve for years: He will battle with rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for 20th place. Fighting for a world title, the biggest for a man in the history of tennis.

On Friday, Djokovic, the world number one, struggled against a much younger and less experienced opponent until he defeated number 10 Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-5 to reach the final of the tournament at the All England Club.

At this point in my career, the Grand Slams are really everything. These are the four most important events in our sport. I have the great honor of making history in a sport I truly love. It fills my heart every time I hear that something historic is at stake. Of course it inspires me, it motivates me, said Djokovic, the 34-year-old Serb. But at the same time, I have to find a balance between being real and staying in the moment to win the next game.

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Every set in her semi-final was tight and tense. Every ball seemed to be in Shapovalov’s hands – until it was in Djokovic’s hands.

I don’t think the result says enough about the game and the match, said Djokovic, who converted five of five break points in the second set and three of three in the third.

Speaking about Shapovalov, the 22-year-old Canadian, Djokovic told the crowd gathered on Centre Court: We’ll be seeing a lot of that in the future, no doubt.

Djokovic is definitely dominating the sport right now.

If he can beat another newcomer to this stage, seventh-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini, in Sunday’s final, Djokovic would win his sixth Wimbledon title, his third in a row.

And then there’s this: He already won the Australian Open in February and the French Open in June. A triumph at Wimbledon would put him three-quarters of the way to a Grand Slam in a calendar year, with only the US Open still to go. No one has done that since Rod Laver in 1969.

First of all. For Djokovic, this will be his 30th tournament. Final of a big tournament, for Berrettini it’s her first. For Djokovic, it was his 41st career victory. Semi-final in a major tournament, for Shapovalov it was the first.

At this point in my career, Grand Slams are really everything, said Novak Djokovic, who is looking to win his 20th Grand Slam on Sunday. An important title in his career. Peter van den Berg/USA Today Sports

Call Wai! (Let’s go!), Forza! (Let’s go!) and even Andiamo, amore mio! (Go, my love!) echoed in the main stadium of the All England Club, where Berrettini was cheered in his native tongue as he became the first Italian Grand Slam finalist in 45 years.

With strong serves that resulted in 22 aces and powerful forehands that yielded a total of 60 winners, Berrettini used 11 games to build a big lead and hold it to no. 1. 14 Hubert Hurkac by 6-3, 6-0, 6-7 (3), 6-4 in the first semifinal.

Of course, the work is not yet finished. I want the trophy now that I’m here, said the 25-year-old Berrettini, who lost his only semi-final in previous slams – at the 2019 US Open. But it’s just a great feeling.

He won 11 matches on grass, including the title at Queen’s Club last month, where he became the first man since Boris Becker in 1985 to win a trophy on his tournament debut. That same year, Becker became a triumphant player at Wimbledon.

Oddly, the key moment of the semifinal came less than 20 minutes later, when Hurkac was leading 3-2 and had a break point. This was undone by Berrettini – unsurprisingly – thanks to a 130 mph ground gain, accompanied by one of his many Si!

Since then, Hurkac has gone from the man with the biggest wins of his career – against his idol, eight-time Wimbledon champion Federer, and number two Daniil Medvedev – to a player who arrived in England with six lost matches.

Berrettini (almost) couldn’t miss. Hurkach was (almost) unable to connect.

By the end, Berrettini had made 24 forehand vignettes and only 18 unforced errors. Hurkach’s results? A total of 27 errors – four forehand – and 26 unnecessary errors.

When Hurkacz had his first save, the 24-year-old Pole sat down during the ensuing change of sides and, between bites of banana, suggested to his US coach Craig Boynton that the seating arrangement in the visitors’ box be changed.

As if that was the point.

Cheered from the stands by his girlfriend Ayla Tomljanovic, who reached the quarter-finals this week, and his parents and brother – his mother filmed his interview on the court with her mobile phone – Berrettini was two points away from winning the third set.

But Hurkach extended the match before Berrettini took over.

Matteo Berrettini is the first Italian to reach a Grand Slam final in 45 years. Peter van den Berg/USA TODAY Sports

Shapovalov kept pushing Djokovic to the limit, but couldn’t hold on.

In those two weeks, Djokovic lost the first set to British teenager Jack Draper – and has since won all 18 sets.

Djokovic’s 6-0 record in head-to-head match-ups did not suggest a fair fight on Friday. But Shapovalov is a lefty with an energetic, sometimes aggressive swing, even when playing with a one-handed backhand. There’s not a shred of subtlety here, not the slightest hint of a safety play.

The backhand forced Djokovic to foul, ending a 15-shot rally that gave Shapovalov a break and a 2-1 lead. He brought the score back to 5-3 and was within two points of the set win in the next game, but got no closer.

Shapovalov serves the set at 5-4 and stumbles for the first time, pressured by Djokovic’s relentless defense.

Djokovic posted a break and was better in the tie-break. Not perfect, but better.

He played it safe and let Shapovalov make mistakes Shapovalov ended the set with a double fault. He broke again to take a 6-5 lead in the second game. Again in a game where he was down 6-5 in the third period.

At that point, Djokovic punched the air and cried out, realizing that the end of the match and another final were near.

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