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By Richard Pagliaro | Friday, July 8 2022


Defending champion Novak Djokovic defeated Cameron Norrie 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 charging into a men’s record 32nd major final at Wimbledon.

Photo credit: Getty

The thrill of the chase fuels Novak Djokovic to historic heights.

Down a set today, Djokovic responded with front-runner’s fury.

TN Q & A: Brad Gilbert on Wimbledon

A dynamic Djokovic defeated British No. 1 Cameron Norrie 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 charging into a men’s record 32nd major final at Wimbledon.

It is Djokovic’s 27th consecutive Wimbledon win sending him into this eighth final at SW19.

Stop and consider what Djokovic has achieved: Contesting his 68th major he’s through to a mind-blowing 32nd final and hasn’t yet produced his peak play in this fortnight.

Today, Djokovic grew increasingly stronger as the match progressed dissecting the British left-hander with lethal accuracy in a two-and-a-half hour victory. Djokovic raised his Grand Slam record to 333-47 as he now sets his sights on his 21st Grand Slam title—and one man he has yet to beat.

The 35-year-old Serbian surrendered serve three times in the opening set, then cleaned up his baseline game and commanded his service games. Djokovic improved to 85-10 lifetime at The Championships taking sole possession of second place on the men’s wins list behind Roger Federer (105-14).

Six-time Wimbledon winner Djokovic set up a potentially edgy blockbuster final against nemesis Nick Kyrgios.

The 40th-ranked Kyrgios took a walkover into his maiden major final after scheduled semifinal opponent Rafael Nadal withdrew from Wimbledon yesterday due to an abdominal muscle tear he suffered in his five-set quarterfinal conquest of American Taylor Fritz on Wednesday.

History is on the line as Djokovic is playing for his seventh Wimbledon crown to equal his tennis idol, Pete Sampras, and William Renshaw for second place on the all-time Wimbledon men’s list behind Roger Federer.

It’s the disruptor vs. defending champion prompting one prediction from the top seed: Fireworks.

“One thing is for sure there’s going to be a lot of fireworks emotionally,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview. “It’s gonna be his first Grand Slam final so obviously he’s going to be very, very excited.

“He doesn’t have much to lose—he’s always playing like that. He’s always playing so freely; one of the biggest servers in the game just a big game overall a lot of power in his shots. We haven’t played for some time. I never won a set off him so hopefully it can be different this time. It’s another final for me at Wimbledon, the tournament I love so much so hopefully the experience can work in my favor.”

The 27-year-old Kyrgios is 2-0 lifetime against Djokovic, sweeping all four sets they’ve played. The pair have not faced off since the 2017 Indian Wells where Kyrgios scored a 6-4, 7-6(3) victory.

The explosive Aussie transformed the second largest tennis stadium court in North America into a boom box repeatedly splattering 130 mph bolts off the back wall. Kyrgios did not face a break point disarming the world's premier returner to snap Djokovic’s 19-match Indian Wells winning streak with conviction in that match.

"On his first serves, to try to anticipate and read his serve, where he's going to go 140 miles per hour down the T and also pretty good angle wide, so it's hard to position yourself well," Djokovic told the media after his Indian Wells loss. "Let's call it that way. It is a gamble. His second serve, if you think you're going to have a look at it, you don't, because he goes for it, as well.”

On the hottest day of the tournament, Norrie came out blazing going after his shots for a set.

Tennis Express

Djokovic delivered a tweener lob and drop volley winner to open fourth game, but Norrie held for 2-2.

Curling his lefty crosscourt forehand into Djokovic’s backhand wing, Norrie drew the error breaking in the fifth game.

Running down a Djokovic drop shot, Norrie poked a pass down the line eliciting a roar from Centre Court fans. The defending champion was struggling to win second-serve points and read Norrie’s flat drives. Djokovic wristed a forehand error as Norrie scored his third break for a 5-2 lead. By then, Djokovic had won just two of 10 second-serve points.

Norrie slashed his first ace for a pair of set points then pumped his second ace down the T snatching the 32-minute opener with a huge uppercut.

Bidding to become the first left-handed man to win Wimbledon since Nadal in 2010, Norrie dodged break-point pressure with a timely ace. He held to even the second set 2-all.

Striking with more conviction, Djokovic broke a 15 for 5-3 and served out three of his last five service games at love to collect the second set.

The problem for Norrie is he lacked the weapons to truly trouble Djokovic. The bigger battle for the Briton was Djokovic played lock-down baseline offense often refusing to miss and was an efficient 26 of 32 at net.

The top seed was hitting with more margin playing clean combinations and draining errors from the Briton. Djokovic broke to open the third set, and consolidated with a love hold for his fifth straight game and a 2-0 lead.

That early lead empowered the Serbian to swing more freely. Djokovic earned the double break for 4-1. The six-time champion cracked his seventh to help him serve out the third set.

After dropping serve three times in the opening set, Djokovic slammed shut service games stamping six love holds in his last 14 service games.

Buckle up for what could be a wild ride between the defending champion and disruptor in the final. Though Kyrgios dampened past vitriol between the pair when he defended Djokovic before he was bounced out of Australia over his refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Kyrgios joked then he and Djokovic had a budding "bromance" and he looked forward to play doubles with the Serbian someday. 

"Obviously me and Novak have had some, I guess, differences in the past," Kyrgios told the media in Melbourne. "But, I mean, whether it was Novak or someone else, I would have done the same thing.

"I didn't do it because he was Serbian. If it was another player in that scenario, I would have stood up for what I think was right. I think it was just coincidentally it was Novak, and, you know, it was quite a story. But yeah, we got a bit of a bromance going on now. Not that I'm complaining. I think I'm going to ask him to play doubles somewhere."

First, they have a singles showdown on Centre Court on Sunday.


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