Novak Djokovic reaches seventh Wimbledon Final after seeing off Denis Shapovalov challenge in straight sets

·2-min read
Novak Djokovic is one match away from a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title (AFP via Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic is one match away from a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title (AFP via Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic is through to the Wimbledon Final for the seventh time in his illustrious career after battling past Denis Shapovalov in the last four.

The defending champion and reigning world no1 was victorious in straight sets - 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 7-5 - in Friday evening’s second semi-final, though was given a stern test by his hard-hitting 22-year-old opponent on Centre Court.

Now standing between Djokovic and a 20th Grand Slam title that would see him tie ‘Big Three’ rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal atop of the all-time list is world no9 Matteo Berrettini, who earlier in the day became the first Italian ever to reach a Wimbledon singles final after overcoming Hubert Hurkacz in four sets.

Sunday’s showpiece will be Djokovic’s 30th Grand Slam final in total to date.

He has already won both the Australian Open and French Open so far in 2021, while he will be looking for a sixth Wimbledon triumph on Sunday after also winning the men’s title in 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019.

Only four players have previously won all of the first three men’s Grand Slam singles titles in the same calendar year, with the feat last achieved by Rod Laver back in 1969.

The formidable Djokovic has now won 17 matches in a row and boasts 101 career victories on grass.

“I don’t think the scoreline says enough about the performance and about the match. He was serving for the first set and was probably the better player for most of the second set,” Djokovic told the BBC after a spirited showing from the emotional Canadian world no12 Shapovalov, whose frustrations showed during an angry exchange with the umpire and he later left Centre Court in tears.

“I would like to give him a big round of applause. This has been his first semi-final of a Grand Slam. You could see he was emotional. We’re going to see a lot of him in the future, definitely.

“Particularly at this stage of my career, the Grand Slams are everything really. I have to balance that with trying to be present and in the moment and focus only on the next match.”

Djokovic and Berrettini have only met twice before on the ATP Tour, with the Serbian winning both encounters.

Djokovic came through in four sets during a quarter-final tie at Roland Garros last month, while he also beat the Italian 6-2 6-1 at the ATP Finals in London in 2019.

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