Wimbledon 2021: Novak Djokovic reaches 30th Grand Slam final, will face Matteo Berrettini

·4 min read
Novak Djokovic.
Novak Djokovic won in straight sets, but it was three really tough sets. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic is in his 30th Grand Slam final with a semifinal victory in straight sets at the All England Club on Friday, but it was far from an easy task. Djokovic was challenged throughout, edging Canadian Denis Shapovalov by the slim margins 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-5 to get through.

Djokovic, ranked No. 1 in the world, is going for a calendar Grand Slam having won the Australian and French Open in 2021. He's also going for a 20th major championship, which would tie him with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for most all-time. The 30th final berth is the second most all-time behind Federer's 31.

"I don't think that the scoreline says enough about the performance and the match," Djokovic said in the on-court interview.

Shapovalov, the No. 10 seed, had chances to win the first set, which would have changed the entire match for the 22-year-old against one of the game's greats. Djokovic said afterward the young player should have won that first one, and was "probably the better player for most of the second set."

He struggled on break points in his first Grand Slam semifinal, allowing Djokovic to do just enough and advance. Shapovalov couldn't live up to the big moments he needed. He had 35 unforced errors while winning one of 11 break points.

"I would like to give him a big round of applause for everything he’s done today, and these few weeks," Djokovic said of his opponent immediately after the win. "We’re going to see a lot of him in the future, definitely. He’s a great player.”

Djokovic, 34, is in his seventh Wimbledon final and enters it having won 18 consecutive sets. He forced a tiebreaker and closed the first set after Shapovalov sent a forehand wide. In the second, he broke at 5-5 and served his way out to the win. And in the third he did it again, feeling the impending victory coming on a slam to win the penultimate game.

Berrettini survives late comeback attempt to reach first Slam final

Matteo Berrettini.
Matteo Berrettini of Italy had little trouble against Hubert Hurkacz of Poland to advance to the Wimbledon final. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Matteo Berrettini stormed into his first Grand Slam final behind a 6-3, 6-0, 6-7(3), 6-4 over Hubert Hurkacz in the semifinals at the All England Club on Friday.

He is the first Italian man to reach the Wimbledon final and is coming off a semifinal appearance at the French Open.

"I think I never dreamed about this because it was too much for a dream," Berrettini said in the on-court interview. "I'm just so happy."

Berrettini, seeded seventh, relied on his serve and forehand to lay in winners and took advantage of 11 straight game victories. Hurkacz came back in the final set to give the Italian a tough time and forced a fourth set. Berrettini used his serve to get out of it and move into his first Grand Slam final of his career.

It was Hurkacz, 24, who took control of the match early with big serves and a comeback from 0-40 in the fourth game. But then the 25-year-old Berrettini, trailing 2-3, took full control for a match and a half. He stormed through and won 11 straight games to go up 6-3, 6-0, 1-0 en route to a finals berth.

Hurkacz, who came into Wimbledon having lost six straight matches, rediscovered his serve in the third set. He drew even with the Italian at each step in the third and forced a tiebreaker. He nearly won every point in the tiebreaker and looked sharper than he had all day, eventually surviving to go another set.

Berrettini finished it off with five aces in his second-to-last service game and eventually won out in the end.

Hurkacz, the No. 14 seed, made it this far with a stunning straight-sets victory against Roger Federer. It was the first time in 19 years Federer had lost in straight sets and Hurkacz finished it off with a 6-0 set. He came into his first-ever Grand Slam semifinal having defeated the No. 2 and No. 6 seeds in the tournament draw.

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