Novak Djokovic back in Wimbledon final. Denis Shapovalov understood that if he was to beat Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon semifinals on Friday, he would have to play near-perfect tennis and seize his opportunities.
He managed the first job for extended stretches of an exciting duel on Centre Court with some superb ball-striking and explosive hitting.
But when it truly mattered, in the most crucial moments, the door was slammed in his face by the greatest defense the game has ever seen, a man whose resilience is as powerful a weapon as any in the sport.
Djokovic is attempting to win his sixth Wimbledon title — and third in a row — to go with nine from the Australian Open, three from the U. S. Open, and two from the French Open.
And then there’s this: After winning on the hard courts of Melbourne Park in February and the red clay of Roland Garros in June — where he defeated Berrettini in the quarterfinals — Djokovic is aiming for a victory on the grass of the All England Club to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam, with only the U.S. Open remaining.
Since Rod Laver won the Grand Slam in 1969, no man has won three titles in a single year, much alone all four.
He has an 11-match winning streak on grass courts, including the Queen’s Club tuneup last month, where he became the first player since Boris Becker in 1985 to win the trophy on his debut.
15-0. 30-0. 40-0. Game. set. Match. Djokovic was unstoppable last night. Third Grand Slam final of 2021. Three sets from his 20th career major title. It’s all Novak Djokovic, who defeats Denis Shapovalov, 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-5, and will face Matteo Berrettini on Sunday.
Of course, Djokovic is vying for a record-tying 20th Grand Slam championship as well as the third leg of the calendar-year Grand Slam, something no man has accomplished since Rod Laver in 1969. On Sunday, he will face Matteo Berrettini.
It was once stated that defeating Nadal on clay at Roland Garros was the most difficult job in tennis. Beating Djokovic today, as he pursues even more fame, may be the most difficult thing anybody has ever had to accomplish.