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Red-hot Djokovic & Berrettini to clash in Wimbledon final

  • Matt Trollope

One winning streak will end when Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini clash in a blockbuster Wimbledon final.

Djokovic extended his unbeaten run to 17 matches with a hard-fought 7-6(3) 7-5 7-5 triumph over Denis Shapovalov in Friday’s second semifinal.

The world No.1, now just one victory away from a men’s record-equalling 20th Grand Slam singles title, will take on Berrettini, who won his 11th consecutive match with a four-set win over Hubert Hurkacz.

Djokovic maintains mastery of Shapovalov

Djokovic took a winning 6-0 head-to-head record into his match against the young Canadian, but despite the straight-sets scoreline, this was their most tightly-fought contest yet.

Shapovalov led 5-3 in the first set, and generated five break-point opportunities in the second, but Djokovic, as is customary, was steadier at these crucial moments.

The top seed converted his only break point late in the second set to take a two-sets-to-love lead, and saved three break points early in the third to avoid trailing 2-0.

Just as he did in the second set, he broke Shapovalov in the penultimate game, and closed out the match with an ace out wide.

It was an incredibly clean, purposeful performance from Djokovic, who committed only 15 unforced errors while winning 28 of his 33 trips to the net.

The victory sends Djokovic through to a 30th Grand Slam final, and seventh at Wimbledon.

Berrettini outhits Hurkacz for major breakthrough

Earlier on Centre Court, Berrettini took control against Hurkacz before the match tightened. 

From 3-2 down in the first set, the Italian charged through 11 straight games to move into a commanding position.

Matteo Berrettini, upon reaching his first Grand Slam final: "Obviously the job is not done yet. I want to get the trophy now that I'm here. But just it's really unbelievable feeling." (Getty Images)

Hurkacz looked completely overwhelmed in his major semifinal debut, winning just four points on serve and frequently spraying unforced errors in a forgettable second set.

But to his credit, he settled in the third set and dominated the ensuing tiebreak to force a fourth.

Here, Berrettini wrested the momentum back, breaking Hurkacz in the opening game and maintaining his lead for the rest of the match.

He crushed 60 winners to Hurkacz’s 27 to seal a 6-3 6-0 6-7(3) 6-4 victory.

Stat of the day

The result means Berrettini is the first Italian player in history to reach a Wimbledon singles final.

And he’s the first Italian man in 45 years to advance to any major final, with Adriano Panatta the last to do so when he won at Roland Garros in 1976.

"I'm in contact with him all the time. (He's) just a great adviser also," Berrettini said of Panatta. "To take the step what he texted me (and) told me: Now that you're here, go for it. That's what I'm trying to do."

When he faces Djokovic on Sunday, Berrettini will attempt to emulate Panatta, Nicola Pietrangeli, Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta as an Italian Grand Slam champion.

Tweet of the day

An emotional Centre Court departure for the gallant Shapovalov.

Quotes of the day

“He was the better player I think for the first couple sets. Had a lot of opportunities and just didn't manage to close it out when he needed to. In important moments I think I probably held my nerves better than he did and just make him play an extra shot, make him do an unforced error. I told him after the match he should keep working, keep believing, because with a game like that he's going to get a lot more opportunities in the future without a doubt.”
- Novak Djokovic on Denis Shapovalov

“Things are all over the place. At the same time I think I handled the situation pretty well. I step in the court, I was feeling confident. I knew that I could win the match. I think I played my best match so far. So I'm really happy for my performance. I felt I could win that (third) set, also win the match, but didn't happen. I said to myself: You're playing better than him, so keep going like this and you're going to win.”
- Matteo Berrettini, on the nerves that came with playing fellow Wimbledon semifinal debutant Hubert Hurkacz.

“I think what hurt so much this time was just that I felt like the game is there and it's possible to go and play for the trophy. It's a feeling I've never had before, so that's why it just hurt so much. I felt like I was outplaying Novak in parts of the match. If you're outplaying Novak, you can beat anyone.”
- Denis Shapovalov, on his reaction to losing his semifinal against Novak Djokovic.

“Matteo was playing really, really well. My serve, first serve, really wasn't helping me, which usually does and gets me out of trouble. I was struggling with that. He was putting a lot of pressure on me and he was playing really amazing without doing any unforced errors. if he continues to play like this, he has really big chance in the final.”
- Hubert Hurkacz, on Matteo Berrettini

Day 12: Ones to watch

It’s a schedule packed with championship matches at the All England Club, with the first of the day on Centre Court being the biggest – the Wimbledon women’s singles final.

World No.1 Ash Barty, chasing a childhood dream, will play for the trophy against eighth seed Karolina Pliskova, the Czech who is searching for her first major title.

ORDER OF PLAY: Wimbledon Day 12

That match precedes the women’s and men’s doubles finals; Elena Vesnina, in her comeback to the tour as a mother, partners fellow Russian Veronika Kudermetova against Hsieh Su-Wei and Elise Mertens, before No.1 seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic of Croatia tackle fourth seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos.

In addition to Barty, Australian fans will also be cheering on Dylan Alcott, who is playing for a second straight Wimbledon title when he faces Sam Schroder in the quad singles final.