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LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 09: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates against Dennis Shapovalov of Canada in the semi-finals of the gentlemen’s singles during Day Eleven of The Championships – Wimbledon 2021 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 09, 2021 in London, England. (Photo : TPN/Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic moved to within a victory of a record-tying 20th Grand Slam title after beating Denis Shapovalov in straight sets in the semifinals of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships on Centre Court on Saturday.
The world no. 1 needed two hours and 44 minutes to pull off the 7-6(3), 7-5, 7-5 victory over the 10th seeded Canadian as he joined Roger Federer as the only two men to reach 30 Grand Slam finals.
The 19-time Grand Slam champion has now won each of his last six semifinal matches at the All England Club and is now 30-11 in major semifinals overall, including winning 16 of his past 17 matches in the last four.
Djokovic continues fine form in tournament
Djokovic has not lost a set since his first set of the tournament against young British star Jack Draper. Though, he almost dropped one in the match against Shapovalov as the Canadian served for the opening set at 5-4. Shapovalov failed to take advantage, though, missing an easy forehand from the service line into a wide-open court at 30-30.
Djokovic eventually broke Shapovalov’s serve three points later and was in fine form in the ensuing tie-break, taking it by the score of 7-3. The next two sets were close affairs again, but it was Djokovic who emerged victorious.
At 5-5 in the third set, Shapovalov missed a forehand long on a breakpoint, giving Djokovic the chance to serve out the match in the next game. That he just did with Djokovic serving out to love, as he ended the grueling encounter with his seventh ace of the match.
Breakpoints were the difference in this contest between Djokovic and Shapovalov. While Djokovic’s serve was under constant pressure from Shapovalov the entire match, the Serbian star was able to win the key points most of the time.
Djokovic saved 10 of the 11 break points he faced against Shapovalov. He was superb in that department, particularly in the last two sets, with Djokovic saving all five breakpoints in the second set and each of the three break points he faced in the third and deciding set.
Berrettini through to first Grand Slam final
Standing in Djokovic’s quest to equal Federer and Rafael Nadal’s record tally of 20 Grand Slam titles is Matteo Berrettini. He became Italy’s first Grand Slam male finalist in 45 years after beating No. 14 seed Hubert Hurkacz, 6-3, 6-0, 6-7 (3), 6-4, in the first semifinal.
Berrettini blasted a total of 60 winners and 22 aces in the semis to pull off the victory against Hurkacz in two hours and 36 minutes. He’s playing some of the best tennis of his life right now as Berrettini extended his winning streak on grass to 11 matches.
He has yet to lose on grass this season, even winning the Queen’s Club tournament last month. Berrettini will face his toughest test, though, against the in-form Djokovic, who is in the midst of a 20-game winning streak at Wimbledon since the start of the 2018 tournament, and at all Grand Slam matches since the start of this season.
Djokovic is 2-0 in his career against Berrettini, including a victory in this year’s French Open quarterfinals.
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