The time had come. If Jannik Sinner, a considerably younger and harder-hitting opponent than Novak Djokovic, was to turn things around Friday and beat him in the Wimbledon semifinals, a tremendous comeback would have to begin right away.
Djokovic was aware of it. Sinning knew it. The roughly 15,000 Centre Court spectators were aware of it.
After winning the first two sets, Djokovic fell behind 5-4 in the third and, as he served, a misplaced forehand brought the score to 15-40. Sinner has two opportunities to finally change. He has two opportunities to actually take a set. Djokovic committed a mistake, to the cheers of some spectators. Djokovic mock-applauded the commotion makers with his racket and ball before giving them the thumbs-up.
He is able to support any such arrogance. Recently, Djokovic has been unbeatable at the All England Club. Or at any Grand Slam competition, really. In order to win that game, he collected the next four points calmly. Then, he turned to face the audience and mockingly feigned to wipe away a tear. After 20 minutes, the match was done, as Djokovic defeated Sinner 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) to go even closer to a record-tying eighth Wimbledon victory and fifth consecutive success.
“The third set could have gone his way,” said Djokovic, who will compete for the championship on Sunday against Carlos Alcaraz, who is ranked No. 1. The pressure was “really, really just a lot,”
Alcaraz defeated No. 3 ranked Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 on Friday to advance to his first major tournament final on grass. In doing so, he displayed all of his various skills, including winning 17 of 20 serve-and-volley points.
While Alcaraz, a 20-year-old Spanish player who won the US Open in September, seeks his second Grand Slam singles title, Djokovic, a 36-year-old Serbian, is going for his 24th.
How shall I begin? Everyone is aware of Djokovic’s legend status, according to Alcaraz. “It will be incredibly, really challenging. But I’ll fight anyhow because I have faith in myself and know I can defeat him here.
Since 2017, nobody has been able to defeat Djokovic at Wimbledon. And since 2013, no one has defeated him at Centre Court.
To advance to his sixth All England Club final against Sinner, Djokovic routinely served himself out of potential trouble while fending off all six break points he faced. Additionally, he has won 35 Grand Slam finals overall, more than any other man or woman in tennis history.
As amazing as he is at returning the ball and as good as his defence is (he would repeatedly sprint, lean, and stretch to reach a ball that prolonged a point until Sinner made a mistake), Djokovic’s serve may be the aspect of his game that has seen the most growth during his career.