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Novak Djokovic to face Carlos Alcaraz in Wimbledon final

Novak Djokovic dispatched Jannik Sinner to reach his ninth Wimbledon men’s final with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory on Center Court on Friday in London. The No. 1 ranking will also be on the line Sunday when the second-seeded Djokovic takes on top-seeded Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz for the championship. Alcaraz whipped No. 3 Daniil Medvedev of Russia 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

“Semifinals, always going to be very close, very tense match,” Djokovic said post-match. “I think maybe the score line doesn’t give the reality of all that was happening on the court.

“Just a lot of pressure in the third especially. He has proven why he’s one of the leaders of the next generation and one of the best players we have in the world, no doubt. It’s great to be part of this new generation. I love it.” Sinner made it interesting in the third set, going up 6-5 as the fiery Italian followed his eighth ace of the match with a powerful forehand finish.

Djokovic appeared to slip reaching for a return and spent most of the break between games stretching his legs. He bounced right back with a pair of aces and forced a tiebreak, and worked another rally after being down 3-1 to grab a 4-3 advantage. Sinner evened it up at 4-4 with a smashed forehand Djokovic was unable to return as he slipped to the surface.

Sinner’s return error set up Djokovic’s serve at 5-4 in the tiebreak, and a return into the net brought match point. Djokovic sealed the win in 2 hours, 46 minutes and improved to 20-5 in tiebreaks in 2023. The Serbian won 15 consecutive major tiebreaks.

Playing his 12th semifinal at the All England Club, Djokovic attempts to claim his eighth Wimbledon title in 12 years on Sunday. He’s in the Wimbledon final for the fifth consecutive time. “I’d like to believe that’s the case,” Djokovic said when asked if he’s playing his best tennis ever. “You have to rely on yourself. … I try not to look at the age as a hindrance or a factor. Thirty-six is the new 26, I guess.”

Djokovic led the second set 2-1 when he was called for hindrance for a long grunt following a backhand return down the line that the umpire said was meant as a distraction for Sinner. Later in the match, umpire Richard Haigh called Djokovic for a time violation. The Serbian, who improved to 3-0 all-time vs Sinner, squatted in surprise and calmly told Haigh “that’s not how this works.” The only male to win all four majors three times, Djokovic can increase his record for Grand Slam titles (24) with a victory. He will set a record of Grand Slam finals appearances with 35, one ahead of Chris Evert.

Djokovic is 1-1 in his career against the 20-year-old Alcaraz, the fourth-youngest Wimbledon finalist in the Open Era (since 1968) and the third Spanish man to reach the grass-court final (Rafael Nadal, Manuel Santana). The two met in the French Open semifinals last month with Djokovic prevailing in four sets. Alcaraz struck 26 winners and broke Medvedev’s serve six times during their one-hour, 49-minute semifinal. The 2022 U.S. Open champion is seeking his second Grand Slam title. –Field Level Media


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