Record-equalling Novak Djokovic seals sixth Wimbledon title

Jonathan Davies in Wimbledon 29 Jul 2021
Djokovic moved level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 Grand Slam titles (John Walton/PA Wire/PA Images)

Novak Djokovic claimed his sixth Wimbledon title after coming from behind to defeat Matteo Berrettini 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

The world number one also took his Grand Slam singles tally to 20; moving joint-top with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the all-time list.

The record-equalling triumph moved Djokovic three-quarters of the way to achieving the Calendar Slam, having already landed the Australian and French Open crowns in 2021.

Due to participate in the Tokyo Olympics later this month, he is also on course for a Golden Slam; a feat only previously achieved by Steffi Graf 33 years ago.

It was the Serb’s third consecutive success at SW19; matching the feats of Federer, Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg.

The 34-year-old was appearing in his seventh Wimbledon final, while this was Berrettini’s maiden voyage into the Centre Court showpiece.

The first Italian finalist at the All England Club – and first in a Slam showpiece since Nicola Pietrangeli triumphed at the 1976 French Open – the Queen’s Club champion arrived having won 151 of his 158 service games on grass in 2021.

However, he was broken in game four after pulling a baseline forehand wide with nerves of the unprecedented occasion evident.

Nevertheless, Berrettini demonstrated impressive character to recover from 5-2 down by breaking back in game 10 on the way to forcing a tie-break, which he controlled 7-4 to draw first blood.

The 25-year-old had never lost at Wimbledon after winning the opening set, but this was a completely different proposition.

Buoyed by dropping a set for the first time since victory over Jack Draper in the opening round, Djokovic hit back immediately; breaking twice on the way to opening up a commanding 4-0 lead.

And although Berrettini recovered one of them, the Serb served out to love to level things up.

Another early break put the top seed in control of the third set, which went with serve before the Italian sent a forehand wide that presented Djokovic with a 2-1 lead.

Berrettini’s sheer power continued to serve as dangerous weapon in his armoury. Indeed, he hit 16 aces throughout the final.

But the most untimely of double-faults at 30-40 in game seven culminated in a pivotal break for Djokovic, who subsequently held before a stray backhand into the net handed him a sixth triumph at SW19.

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