Matteo Berrettini became the first Italian to reach Wimbledon’s final since the 1968 introduction of professional tennis. With 6-3, the Roman hardhitter beat the surprise Hubert Hurkacz of Poland in the semifinals. 6-0, 6/7(3), 6-4 In the final, he will face Novak Djokovic, the defending champion.
Berrettini is now in the final. He follows Adriano Panatta’s footsteps, who was in 1976 at Roland Garros the first and only Italian man to win the final match of a grand Slam tournament in singles.
Both players had not reached the London semi-finals but began convincingly with a love card. It gave the Italian some peace of mind. However, it wasn’t enough to ensure a strong performance for the Pole.
Hurkacz doesn’t give home
Hurkacz had earlier taken the tournament by storm, taking the measures of Daniil Medvedev (22) and Roger Federer (66) with their uninhibited and dominant play. It was difficult to see anything against Berrettini.
For the Pole, it was only possible to play a further set from 3-2 in their first set. Berrettini seized every opportunity. Berrettini fought a lot and won the next 11 games. Within an hour, he had two sets.
Hurkacz (14 years old) received a standing ovation after he went 1-1 for set three. He also won another set when he won tiebreak. But that didn’t change. Berrettini broke Hurkacz immediately in the fourth, but he continued to concentrate and counted out the Pole on his second match point.
Hurkacz was the third of three debutants to disappear in the Wimbledon semi-finals. It was the first appearance since 2006 that three players (Hurkacz Berrettini & Shapovalov), reached the London grass semis for the first times in their careers.
Then it was Rafael Nadal, Jonas Björkman and Marcos Baghdatis. Roger Federer won eventually the tournament.
Djokovic and Shapovalov were in the semifinals, but it was more evenly matched than Berrettini versus Hurkacz. It was a fierce match from the beginning. Djokovic lost to the Canadian tenth seed, after a slow start. However, Djokovic recovered quickly and saved the set in tenth.
Although he had only lost two points in his previous four service games, Shapovalov was under immense pressure and gave the game to the Serb (1), with four missed shots.
Both players committed foul after foul in the tiebreak. Djokovic did better than the Canadian dashing player, who made too many errors to score. After his first double error of the match, Shapovalov lost tiebreak.
Shapovalov missed too many opportunities
The Canadian player did not give up after losing the first set. He continued to fight the Serb’s second serve and even entered the rally, having several chances to win. Shapovalov didn’t manage to win all five but it wasn’t discouraged.
He continued to attack but gave in to the pressure once more. He was leading by 30-15, but he lost a stunning rally that he controlled. Two misses later, it was 6-5 for Djokovic who also won the set.
The Canadian was also very close to being the global number three in set three. But, five missteps in game 11 cost him his head.
Djokovic will be entering his thirtieth grand final for his 20th title.