Tennis

Wimbledon 2021 | Novak Djokovic to meet Matteo Berrettini in finals

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates the semifinal victory over Canada's Denis Shapovalov at the Wimbledon tennis tournament, in London on July 9, 2021.   | Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill

Defending champion Novak Djokovic absorbed a barrage of powerful hitting from Canadian Denis Shapovalov to reach his seventh Wimbledon final on Friday with a 7-6(3) 7-5 7-5 victory that kept the indefatigable Serb on course to write history.

The 34-year-old was eclipsed at times by his 22-year-old opponent on an overcast Centre Court but as he almost always does, converted his chances in clinical fashion to set up a Sunday showdown with Italian Matteo Berrettini.

Tenth seed Shapovalov was bidding to become only the second Canadian man to reach the Wimbledon final and despite producing some scintillating tennis, he was left pondering what might have been after failing to crack the toughest nut in the business.

He struck 40 winners but whenever Djokovic found himself in peril, he manned the barricades, saving 10 of the 11 break points he faced and making only 15 unforced errors as he refused to be derailed in his pursuit of a 20th Grand Slam title.

Djokovic won the opening set despite Shapovalov serving for it at 5-4, then saved several break points in the second as his opponent threw the kitchen sink at the five-time champion.

Even in the third set Shapovalov continued shooting from the hip but eventually his fire blew out as Djokovic claimed one of the toughest straight sets wins of his Wimbledon career.

Shapovalov left the court with tears in his eyes but he showed enough in a marvellous run to suggest that he is ready to challenge for the biggest prizes in tennis

Earlier, Matteo Berrettini stayed solid in the face of a spirited fightback from Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz to become the first Italian to reach the Wimbledon final on Friday with a 6-3 6-0 6-7(3) 6-4 victory.

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini celebrates after winning the semifinal match against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, at Wimbledon in London on July 9, 2021.

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini celebrates after winning the semifinal match against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, at Wimbledon in London on July 9, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AP

 

The 25-year-old took two hours and 36 minutes to get past the 14th seeded Hurkacz on Centre Court to reach the championship match on Sunday - the same day Italy play in the Euro 2020 soccer final a few miles up the road at Wembley Stadium against England.

Waiting for Berrettini on the opposite side of the net will be either world number one Novak Djokovic, a five-time Wimbledon winner, or Canadian 10th seed Denis Shapovalov.

“I have no words,” Berrettini said in his on-court interview. “I need, I think, couple of hours to understand what happened. I just know that I played a great match. I’m really happy. I’m really glad to be here.

“I think I never dreamed about this because it was too much for a dream.”

Berrettini’s success in the past fortnight has not been entirely out of the blue as he arrived at the All England Club after winning his fifth tour-level title at Queen’s.

He was the first player to win the Wimbledon warm-up event on his debut appearance since Boris Becker in 1985 and remains on course to match the German’s feat of completing the Queen’s Club-Wimbledon double in the same year.

Friday’s victory also made Berrettini the first Italian man to reach a Grand Slam final since Adriano Panatta won the Roland Garros title in 1976.


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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 6:28:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/wimbledon-2021-tennis-championship-mens-semifinals/article35239655.ece

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