Novak Djokovic reaches his 8th Wimbledon final

The top-seeded Djokovic beat No.9 seed Cameron Norrie of Great Britain 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in the semi-finals to extend his winning streak at the All England Club to 27 matches in a row as he pursues a fourth straight championship here.
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

LONDON: Novak Djokovic fashioned a second consecutive comeback victory at Wimbledon on Friday, this one with a deficit far less daunting, the drama far less possible.

The top-seeded Djokovic beat No.9 seed Cameron Norrie of Great Britain 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in the semi-finals to extend his winning streak at the All England Club to 27 matches in a row as he pursues a fourth straight championship here.

On the steamiest afternoon of the fortnight so far, with the temperature reaching 85 degrees Fahrenheit (30 Celsius) and the air still, Djokovic got off to a slow start and often looked displeased, shaking his head or gesticulating towards his guest box. But unlike in the quarter-finals, when he dropped the opening two sets against No.10 seed Jannik Sinner before winning in five, it took little time for Djokovic to assert his dominance.

When the last-four match ended, Djokovic curled his lips as if sending a kiss to someone in the stands who had been backing Norrie during the contest.

Djokovic will face first-time major finalist Nick Kyrgios for the trophy on Sunday. The unseeded Kyrgios, a 27-year-old from Australia, did not need to play on Friday because 22time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal withdrew from their semi-final with a torn abdominal muscle.

It will be the 32nd Grand Slam title match for Djokovic, breaking a tie for the men’s record he shared with Roger Federer, and gives the 35-year-old from Serbia a shot at a 21st major title and seventh at Wimbledon. Only Federer, with eight, owns more at the grass-court tournament.

Nadal yet again blighted by injury

Rafael Nadal has collected a men’s record 22 Grand Slam titles, but a career plagued by injuries has undoubtedly robbed him of even more.

On Thursday, his physical frailties returned to haunt him when he was forced out of Wimbledon with an abdominal injury, just a day before he was to face Nick Kyrgios in the semi-finals. Before his latest setback, he had already missed 11 Grand Slam events stretching back to his debut in 2003. He has also now pulled out during a Slam five times.

RESULTS: Men’s singles: Semi-finals: N Djokovic bt C Norrie 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4; N Kyrgios bt R Nadal (walkover). Mixed doubles: Final: S Stosur/M Ebden lost to D Krawczyk/N Skupski 4-6, 3-6

Jabeur set for Rybakina clash

The success of Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in reaching Saturday’s Wimbledon singles final has prompted immense excitement in her home country for a woman nicknamed the “Minister of Happiness.”

Jabeur has been a trailblazer throughout her career, last year becoming the first Arab player to win a WTA title, the first to crack the top-10 in the world rankings and the first to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. Her opponent in the final is Moscow-born Elena Rybakina, who is representing Kazakhstan to achieve a Grand Slam ultimate. Rybakina, who represented Russia till 2018, unexpectedly crammed the void left by their absence from the match, with some Russians claiming the 23-year-old as their very own.

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