An eleven game run catapulted Matteo Berrettini into his first career Grand Slam final, after defeating Hubert Hurkacz 6-3, 6-0, 6-7(3), 6-4 in the last four earlier today.
“I have no words, really, just thanks. I need a couple of hours to understand what happened,” Berrettini said to the crowd. “I played a great match. I enjoyed the crowd, my family and whole team are there. I think I never dreamed about this, because it was too much for a dream.”
The big bombing Berrettini dominated the Pole early on his serve and pounding any short forehands. Hurkacz, playing in his first Slam semifinal, couldn’t find any inroads on the Italian’s serve.
With Berrettini up two sets, Hurkacz finally settled down in the third. He would go up 5-1 in the breaker and hung on for the set.
But Berrettini broke right away to start the fourth and that was all he would need. The 25-year-old would never drop serve and finished with 60 errors (including 24 off the forehand) to just 18 unforced.
“First Slam final, I’m just so, so happy for everything,” Berrettini said.
“I stepped 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,” he said.
“Especially after the third set,” he added. “I felt I could win that 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.'”
Hurkacz managed just 5 aces and off the forehand hit 4 winners to 18 unforced.
“Matteo played unbelievable match today. Huge congrats to him. Every single service game, he was serving bombs. I didn’t have many chances, basically zero,” Hurkacz said. “Huge congrats for him that he kept such a high level throughout the whole four sets. He played really well.”
In the second semifinal, Novak Djokovic dodged bullet after bullet against a hot-handed Denis Shapovalov in a 7-6(3), 7-5, 7-5 win.
The Canadian, who was 0-6 against Djokovic winning just two of 13 sets, managed to grab an early break against an error-prone No. 1. But serving for the first set 5-4, Shapovalov got down 0-30 and eventually lost the break.
Djokovic would seize control taking the first set in a breaker.
In the second, Shapovalov would again have chances to break but Djokovic was able to swat away all five after a huge hold from 0-40 down at 1-2 and another at 2-3, 15-40.
At 5-all, a Shapovalov double fault gave the 5-time champ full control of what been a tightly contested affair.
In the third, Shapovalov was the one to avoid trouble, but again at 5-all, two doubles did the 22-year-old in.
“I don’t think that the scoreline says enough about the performance and about the match. He was serving for the first set and he was probably the better player for most of the second set,” Djokovic told the capacity crown. “He had many chances and I would like to give him a big round of applause for everything that he has done today and these two weeks.
“In important moments, I think I probably held my nerves better than he did and just made him play an extra shot, made him an unforced error,” Djokovic added. “It’s tough to play Denis, particularly on grass and quicker surfaces with the lefty serve that he’s got. He can hit any spot. I think he’s one of the best servers on the tour, without a doubt. When he’s on, when he’s feeling that serve, it’s a weapon on any surface against anyone.”
In his first Slam semifinal, Shapovalov held up well but in the big moments came up just short.
“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,” said Shapovalov. “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.
“It just hurt a lot,” he added. “It’s been a lot of pressure, a lot of mental fatigue. Like, it all kind of spilled out on the court before I could control myself.”
Djokovic is into his 30th Slam final and 7th Wimbledon title match. He has won his last 20 matches at Wimbledon and is a perfect 20-0 in Grand Slams in 2021. He is three sets from 20.
“There is no holding back once you step out on the court, particularly in the later stages of an event that I always dreamt of winning. The dream keeps going,” Djokovic said. “I am trying to take out the maximum of my own abilities every single match and see what happens. Giving up is never an option.
“It would mean everything. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m playing. I imagined myself being in a position to fight for another Grand Slam trophy prior to coming to London. I put myself in a very good position,” he went on. “Anything is possible in the final. Obviously experience is on my side. But Berrettini has been winning a lot of matches on grass courts this year, winning Queen’s.”
Djokovic leads Berrettini 2-0 winning at the French Open last month in four sets and at the 2019 ATP Finals.
“He’s in great form. He’s serving big, playing big. So it’s going to be a very tough match I think for both of us, but I’m looking forward to a great battle.”
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