Defending champion Novak Djokovic was in relentless form on Friday as he defeated hard-working Denis Shapovalov to reach this year’s Wimbledon final.
The world No. 1 advanced in straight sets — 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 7-5 — but the final result doesn’t reflect how well Shapovalov played in what was his first Grand Slam semifinal.
Meanwhile, Djokovic played in his 41st Grand Slam semi-final and showed how important experience and mentality are at this stage of the tournament.
He will now be looking for a record-equaling 20th major title in Sunday’s final, which would take him alongside Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for the most Grand Slam titles in the men’s category.
“The dream continues. I try to get the most out of my own ability every game and see what happens. Giving up is never an option,” said Djokovic during his interview on the track.
“Especially at this stage of my career, Grand Slams are everything. I’ve had the privilege of making history in the sport I really love.
It fills my heart.” “Every time I hear that there is something at stake that is historic, it inspires me, but at the same time I have to balance it and only win the next game.
” Djokovic digs deep Despite his young opponent showing promise throughout the game, Djokovic dug deep and was able to turn it on when it really mattered, sometimes leaving Shapovalov a frustrated figure on the pitch.
A tiebreak was needed to separate the two men in a nail-biting first set after Shapovalov failed to serve it out. The Canadian lost even more chances in the second, with Djokovic surviving five break points before taking his only chance to break the Canadian and take the set.
Shapovalov was clearly frustrated as both players prepared for the third set, with the 22-year-old protesting the chair umpire over a controversial call that had landed Djokovic in the second set.
Excited, Shapovalov started the third set impressively and was cheered by the spectators on Center Court.
But in the end it was a familiar story. At big points, Djokovic simply found a new level — a trait that has seen him win 19 Grand Slam titles in his career — and broke Shapovalov’s last service game.
Shapovalov was in tears as he left the field as Djokovic, clearly pumped up, praised his opponent for an extraordinary performance. “He’s a great player” “I don’t think the backlog says enough about the game,” Djokovic added.
“He served the first set and he was probably the better player for most of the second set, he had a lot of chances. “I would like to give him a big round of applause for everything he has done today and also for the past few weeks .
“You could see he was emotional, but we’re going to see him a lot in the future, he’s a great player.” Djokovic now faces Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in the final, where he will try to win his sixth Wimbledon title.
Berrettini became the first Italian man to reach the Grand Slam final on the grass after breaking his way past brave Hubert Hurkacz earlier on Friday.