Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Richard Pagliaro | Friday, July 14, 2023


Novak Djokovic stopped Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4) reaching his record 35th Grand Slam final at Wimbledon and moving within one win of a 24th Grand Slam crown.

Photo credit: Rob Newell/CameraSport

Wimbledon—Lawn tennis rewards athleticism and bold strikes.

Today, Novak Djokovic added elevation to the equation soaring into his record 35th Grand Slam final.

Lifting his level of play, a dynamic Djokovic defeated talented Italian Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4) rising into his ninth Wimbledon final.

The first player—man or woman—in history to reach 35 major finals, Djokovic scored his 34th consecutive grass-court win. Djokovic joins Roger Federer and Ken Rosewall as the third man over 36 years of age to reach a Wimbledon final.

"36 is the new 26," Djokovic quipped afterward.

Indeed, contesting his 18th Wimbledon, Djokovic refuses to act his age.

Facing a powerful opponent 14 years his junior, a dynamic Djokovic drilled 11 aces against no double faults, saved all six break points he faced, including a couple of set points in the third set, and broke down the Sinner forehand at crucial times.

“Semifinals it was always going to be a very close, very tense match," Djokovic said. "Three very close sets. I think the scoreline doesn’t maybe give the reality of what was happening on the court.

"It was super close third set could have gone his way. He had 15-40 a few second serves he missed a couple of shots allowed me to get into the tiebreaker…. He has proven why he’s one of the leaders of the next generation and why he’s one of the best players in the world no doubt. So it’s great to be part of this new generation—I love it."

Riding a record 45-match Centre Court winning streak—a decade of dominance on the sport’s most iconic court—Djokovic will play for a record-tying eighth Wimbledon title when he faces either world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz or No. 3 Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final.

Four-time defending champion Djokovic now stands one victory away from a historic 24th Grand Slam crown, which would equal Hall of Famer Margaret Court’s all-time record.

If he achieves it, Djokovic would arrive in New York next month with a dual dream in reach: He could become the first man since Rocket Rod Laver in 1969 to capture the calendar Grand Slam and collect a record 25th major championship.

Playing beneath the closed Centre Court roof in humid conditions that left both men repeatedly smacking their racquets off their shoes to loosen clumps of collecting grass, Djokovic’s footwork and balance were sharper at the start.

The four-time defending champion fended off two break points in a seven-minute hold to open then immediately flipped the script breaking Sinner at 30 in his first service game.

Slipping a couple of times, Sinner saw the Serbian back up the break for a quick 3-0 lead.

Steadying himself, Sinner smacked an ace and forehand winner holding to get on the board after 19 minutes.

The Italian burned a backhand down the line for another break point, but Djokovic denied it and capped the fifth game pumping an ace down the middle for 4-1.

The second seed smacked five aces against no double faults and saved all three break points he faced taking a one-set lead after 40 minutes to the applause of former champions Stefan Edberg and Pat Cash seated in the Royal Box.

Sinner was striking the ball cleanly, but wasn’t using too many short angles of the front court and Djokovic was a bit sharper. Though Sinner had success at net, winning 22 of 29 trips to the front court, he wasn't able to consistently apply that forward movement at crunch time.

A year ago, Sinner opened a two-set lead over Djokovic before bowing in five in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

In today’s semifinal rematch, the Italian made the curious decision to move back behind the baseline to receive Djokovic’s second serve and the 36-year-old Serbian superstar made him pay for that.

Trying to stand toe-to-toe with Djokovic in crackling baseline rallies, Sinner’s forehand let him down in the third game of set two.

The eighth-seeded Italian fell into danger on serve as Djokovic laced a backhand down, Sinner slapped his first double fault then sent a drive long to face triple break point.

Though Sinner saved the first two break points he bashed a forehand well behind the baseline to cede the break and a 2-1 second-set lead to the Serbian.

Hit with a questionable hindrance call by chair umpire Richard Haigh for his grunt, Djokovic briefly protested with an “are you joking?” response.

"The hindrance [call] could have changed the course of the match," Djokovic said afterward. "I felt really nervous, probably the first time in my career something like this has happened."

When he sprayed a forehand, Sinner had his fourth break point and a good look at a forehand winner down the line to break. Sinner netted a flat forehand.

Chair umpire Haigh called a time violation warning on Djokovic, but the seven-time Wimbledon winner held firm to eventually confirm the break for 3-1.

Twisting his seventh ace out wide, a focused Djokovic seized a two-set lead after 99 minutes of play.

"[His serve] it's tough to read," Sinner said. "I felt like he has improved also the serve a little bit. And when he's missing, he's not missing on much. It's always quite, quite close to the lines."

While Sinner nearly doubled Djokovic’s winner total through two sets—29 to 17—Djokovic played cleaner combinations committing just 12 unforced errors through two sets.

Exploring the front court more frequently, Sinner went up 5-4 in the third set and. The lanky Italian pumped his fist toward his support box then pulled an energy bar from his Gucci bag and chomped on it refueling for what he hoped be a longer battle.

Lining up a short forehand, Djokovic sailed it wide to face double set point in the 10th game.

Cracking a crosscourt backhand winner, Djokovic denied the first set point then dodged the second set point when Sinner sailed a shot. A frustrated Sinner smacked his Head racquet off his leg ruing lost opportunity.

Annoyed by a fan in the crowd fueled Djokovic into action. The second seed swatted a drive volley winner then mockingly mimed wiping a non-existent tear from his eye in a jab toward that vocal fan holding to level after 10 games.

Deadlocked at 30-all in the 12th game, Djokovic scalded the sideline with an ace then clipped a diagonal forehand winner to force the third-set tiebreaker.

Fueled by winning 14 straight Grand Slam tiebreakers, Djokovic, who wears contact lenses on court, was rubbing his eye before Sinner roped an eye-opening backhand return down the line to take the mini break and a 2-0 lead.

Sinner slapped his third double fault into net to give the mini break back. The pair changed ends even after six points. Djokovic punched a forehand volley for 4-3.

Semifinal debutant Sinner sent a backhand into net to cede the mini break and a 5-4 lead putting the match on the Serbian’s racquet.

Sinner blinked netting another forehand as Djokovic seized match point.

When Sinner netted another backhand, Djokovic had his 15th straight major tiebreaker and a record 35th Grand Slam final breaking the record he had shared with Hall of Famer Chrissie Evert.


Latest News