Djokovic Ends Norrie's Run, Reaches Wimbledon Final
On a sun-baked Centre Court, the Serbian raised his level as the match went on, breaching the defences of Norrie with his aggressive and precise groundstrokes to advance to his eighth final at The Championships in two hours and 34 minutes.
“I didn’t start off well. He was the better player for the first set. I have had many semi-finals at Grand Slams before, but it is never easy walking out onto court,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview. “You have a lot of pressure and expectation from yourself and others. Cameron didn’t have much to lose, he is playing the tournament of his life. Playing at home is never easy, but I wish him all the best. He is a great player and I have a lot of respect for him.”
The World No. 3 is chasing his 21st Grand Slam title this fortnight as he looks to close the gap on 22-time major champion Rafael Nadal. The 35-year-old will face Nick Kyrgios in the championship match on Sunday after Spaniard Nadal was forced to withdraw ahead of his semi-final meeting with Kyrgios due to an abdominal tear. The Australian leads Djokovic 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series.
“One thing for sure, there is going to be a lot of fireworks emotionally from both of us,” Djokovic said. “It is going to be his first Grand Slam final. He is very excited and he doesn’t have much to lose and he is always playing like that. He is playing so freely, one of the biggest serves in the game. Just a big game overall, a lot of power in his shots. We haven’t played for some time. I have never won a set off him. Hopefully it can be different this time.
"It is another final here at Wimbledon at a tournament I love so much. Hopefully the experience can work in my favour.”
Djokovic has now won 27 consecutive matches at Wimbledon, with his victory over the ninth seed Norrie propelling him into his 32nd Grand Slam final, claiming sole ownership of the all-time major finals record ahead of Roger Federer (31). The Serbian also holds an 85-10 record at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, moving clear of Jimmy Connors (84-18) and into second in the all-time list.
Most Wimbledon men’s singles match-wins (Open Era)
In an impressive first set, Norrie showed little sign of nerves as he quickly found his range on Centre Court. The Briton hammered his topspin forehand with accuracy, while he forced Djokovic off balance and into errors with his flat backhand, breaking three times in the first set to lead.
However, Djokovic is used to the big occasion, with this his 11th semi-final at The Championships. The World No. 3 increased his intensity, demonstrated great touch from all areas and started to find his spots on serve as he turned the tables in the second set to level.
Djokovic continued to go on the attack in the third set, capitalising on the reduction in power and depth of Norrie’s groundstrokes to make further inroads. The 35-year-old fired nine winners and committed just four unforced errors in the set. The Serbian then gained a decisive break at the start of the fourth set, before he zoned in on serve to seal victory.
“It was very hot today. The hottest day of The Championships so far. I was a bit tight at the start of the match, not swinging through the ball as smoothly as I would have liked to and Cameron was dominating the play,” Djokovic added. “I felt that I got lucky in the second set to break his serve. At 4-3, he missed a couple of put-aways and gifted me that game and I felt from that game momentum shifted a little bit.”
Djokovic has improved to 2-0 in his ATP Head2Head series against Norrie, who was competing in his maiden Grand Slam semi-final. The 26-year-old was the fourth British man to advance to the last four at SW19 in the Open Era, joining two-time champion Andy Murray, Tim Henman and Roger Taylor. Former World No. 1 Murray remains the only British player to defeat Djokovic at Wimbledon (2013 final), with the Serbian eliminating James Ward, Kyle Edmund, Jack Draper and Norrie in the past six years.
Four-time tour-level titlist Norrie had never been beyond the third round at a Grand Slam before this fortnight. However, the ninth seed produced a series of impressive performances to defeat Pablo Andujar, Jaume Munar, Steve Johnson, Tommy Paul and Goffin on the lawns in London.
The Serbian rallied from two-sets-to-love-down to edge Jannik Sinner in the quarter-finals, having eliminated Soonwoo Kwon, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Miomir Kecmanovic and Tim van Rijthoven in the first four rounds. The Serbian is now 22-5 on the season, highlighted by him clinching a record-extending 38th ATP Masters 1000 crown in Rome.
Most Grand Slam men’s singles final appearances (all-time)
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Did You Know?
At 35 years and 49 days, Djokovic is the third player in the Open Era to reach the Wimbledon men’s singles final aged 35 or older – after Federer and Ken Rosewall, who both reached two finals in London after turning 35.