Wimbledon: Dominant Djokovic Breezes Into Final Clash With Alcaraz - Eastern Mirror
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Wimbledon: Dominant Djokovic breezes into final clash with Alcaraz

By IANS Updated: Jul 15, 2023 1:28 am
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Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts after beating Italy’s Jannik Sinner to win their men’s singles semifinal match on day twelve of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Friday, July 14, 2023. AP/PTI

LONDON— World No. 2 Novak Djokovic dismissed the big-hitting threat of Jannik Sinner to reach his fifth consecutive Wimbledon final, here on Friday.

Djokovic delivered a typically classy all-around semi-final performance to prevail 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4) against the Italian and notch his 34th straight match win at the grass-court major.

His clean, deep returning was a constant menace to the Sinner serve and Djokovic was rock-solid under pressure as he saved all six break points he faced in his two-hour, 46-minute triumph.

“In the semi-finals, it was always going to be a very tense, very close match.Three very close sets, I think the scoreline maybe doesn’t give the reality of what was happening on the court. It was super close,” said Djokovic in his on-court interview.

“The third set could have gone his way. He had 5-4, 15/40 and a couple of second serves. He missed a few shots and allowed me to get into the tie-break. It was just a lot of pressure in the third, especially. I had chances early on, but he proved why he is one of the leaders of the next generation and one of the best players in the world that we have, no doubt. It’s great to be part of this new generation. I love it,” he added.

Djokovic will face Carlos Alcaraz or Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final at SW19, where he is bidding to tie Roger Federer’s record by lifting an eighth Wimbledon crown.

Should top seed Alcaraz be his opponent, it would also represent a straight one-on-one shootout for the No. 1 spot in the ATP Rankings.

The 36-year-old Djokovic has now won 27 consecutive matches at major tournaments and remains on course for a historic Calendar-Year Grand Slam after his triumphs at the Australian Open and Roland Garros earlier in the year. He is just the third player in the Open Era (since 1968) to reach the Wimbledon men’s singles final aged 36 or older, after his great rival Federer and Ken Rosewall.

“I’d like to believe that [I am playing some of my best tennis ever]. We play an individual sport, so you have to rely on yourself and try to put yourself in the best possible state, physically, mentally and emotionally, before going out on the court,” said Djokovic.

“I try not to look at age as a hindrance or a factor that might decide the outcome on the court. To the contrary, actually, I feel 36 is the new 26, I guess. It feels good,” he added.

By reaching his 35th championship match at a Grand Slam event, Djokovic claimed sole ownership of the record for reaching the most major finals, ahead of former WTA star Chris Evert (34).

Alcaraz win over Medvedev

Carlos Alcaraz became the fourth youngest Wimbledon men’s singles finalist in the Open Era (since 1968) on Friday when he defeated Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to set a title clash against Novak Djokovic that will determine which player is No. 1 in the ATP Rankings on Monday.

Competing under the roof on Centre Court, the 20-year-old Spaniard showcased his deft touch and devastating power to become the third Spanish man to reach the title match at SW19, joining 1966 champion Manuel Santana and two-time titlist Rafael Nadal.

“It was a dream for me, playing a semi-final here, and now playing a final here at Wimbledon, I can’t believe it. I am going to enjoy this amazing moment,” Alcaraz said.

“It was really, really difficult to close the match. I had to be really, really focused. He fought until the last ball. He is an amazing fighter. I had to show my best in that tough moment and play aggressively. Be myself all the time and I think that was the key to close out the match,” he added.

The World No. 1 blasted 27 winners, broke Medvedev’s serve six times and consistently drew gasps from the crowd in a dominant one-hour, 49-minute performance at SW19.

With his 46th tour-level win of the season, Alcaraz drew level with Medvedev on the most matches won on Tour this year. The 2022 US Open champion will aim to move clear of the third seed when he faces seven-time Wimbledon titlist Djokovic in the final.

Alcaraz and Djokovic are locked at 1-1 in their ATP Head to Head series, after the Serbian defeated the Spaniard in the semi-finals at Roland Garros last month.

“It is going to be incredibly difficult but I will fight,” Alcaraz said when asked about facing Djokovic.

“I believe in myself and I will believe that I can beat him here. He hasn’t lost on this court since 2013, so it is going to be a really tough challenge for me. I have dreamed since I started playing to play a final here and it is even more special playing against Novak. It is the final. There is no time to be afraid, be tired. I will go for it,” he added.

Alcaraz, who is chasing his second major, entered the 2023 grass season having earned just four wins on the surface in his career. He has now won his past 11 matches on grass, having triumphed at The Queen’s Club last month.

On the other hand, Medvedev was chasing his first final appearance at Wimbledon, with his best result before this year a run to the fourth round in 2021. The third seed, who captured his only Grand Slam crown at the US Open in 2021, leaves London third in the ATP Live Race To Turin.

The 20-year-old Alcaraz is the seventh man in the Open Era to reach multiple major finals under the age of 21.

By IANS Updated: Jul 15, 2023 1:28:22 am
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