Djokovic denies home favourite Norrie to reach eighth Wimbledon final

Jonathan Davies in Wimbledon 08 Jul 2022
Djokovic is into his record-breaking 32nd Grand Slam final (Photo by Corinne Dubreuil/ABACAPRESS.COM)

Novak Djokovic is through to his eighth Wimbledon final after coming from behind to defeat home favourite Cameron Norrie 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-4.

The six-time champion hit 13 aces and 38 as he ended the hopes of the British number one to set up a showdown with Nick Kyrgios in the Championship match.

Djokovic is through to a record-breaking 32nd Grand Slam showpiece – surpassing Roger Federer for the highest tally in men’s singles history – and is also the third male to do so at SW19 after turning 35.

The Serbian, who did not face a single break point after the opening set, also extended his winning streak at the All England Club to 27 matches, while becoming only the sixth male to reach four successive finals.

“I didn’t start off well; [Cameron] was the better player for the first set,” he told BBC Sport.

“You’re a bit tighter at the beginning of the match and not swinging through the ball as smoothly as you would like to. Cameron was dominating the play.

“I felt like I got lucky in the second set to break his serve at 4-3; he gifted me that game and since then, I felt like momentum shifted.

“In the past, I’ve had many semi-finals in Grand Slams, but it’s never easy walking out on the court. You have a lot of pressure and expectations from yourself and others as well.

“Cameron didn’t have much to lose; he’s playing probably the tournament of his life. Playing at home is never easy, but I wish him all the best. He’s a great player and I have a lot of respect for him.”

Although appearing in his 43rd Grand Slam semi-final, Djokovic looked nervous early on – three unforced errors saw Norrie break in the opening game.

The Serbian responded immediately before holding for 2-1, but the British number one reeled off the next five games to draw first blood after 31 minutes to the delight of the Centre Court crowd.

Despite the slow start, this was no time for Djokovic to panic. Indeed, he had prevailed from 11 of his 13 previous Slam matches when losing the opening set.

And the top seed responded in style; dropping just three points on serve and pouncing on a couple of unforced errors from Norrie to break in game eight and subsequently level.

The pendulum swung firmly in favour of Djokovic, who broke twice in his opponent’s next three service games to dominate the third set and move one away from a fourth straight final.

Only the fourth British male semi-finalist in the Open Era – after Roger Taylor, Tim Henman and Andy Murray – Norrie’s frustration was evident as he was broken again at the start of the fourth.

Though the ninth seed held thereon – notably saving four break points in the fifth game – there was little he could do to thwart Djokovic’s dominance on serve.

Overall, the 20-time major champion won 47 out of 57 points on first serve (82 per cent), and 26 out of 32 net points (81 per cent) as he booked a mouth-watering date with Kyrgios.

The fiery Australian, who received a walkover to his first Grand Slam final following the withdrawal of Rafael Nadal through injury, has prevailed in each of his two previous meetings with Djokovic.

And the Serb is expecting to passions to run high at both ends of the court when the pair lock horns in Sunday’s showpiece.

“One thing is for sure, there’s going to be a lot of fireworks emotionally from both of us,” he added.

“It’s going to be [Kyrgios’] first Grand Slam final; he’s obviously very excited and he doesn’t have much to lose.

“We haven’t played for some time. I’ve never won a set off him, so hopefully it can be different this time.

“It’s another final for me here in Wimbledon at the tournament I love so much, so hopefully the experience can work in my favour.”

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