Men’s singles semi-final: Novak Djokovic (Srb, 2) bt Jannik Sinner (Ita, 8) 6-3/6-4/7-6
By Charlie Stong on Centre Court at Wimbledon
Novak Djokovic is through to his ninth Wimbledon final after a straight-sets win over Italy’s Jannik Sinner on Centre Court this afternoon.
Djokovic won 6-3/6-4/7-6 in 2hrs 47mins and will play either top seed Carlos Alcaraz or Daniil Medvedev, the number 3 seed, in Sunday’s final.
Sinner had break points in the very first game of the match, but took time to settle on his own serve and was broken for 2-0.
His long forehand gave Djokovic a break point, and when he repeated the error, the Serb was a break up – an advantage that quickly become 3-0.
A fine backhand down the line gave Sinner break-back point at 1-3, but the seven-time champion saved it and won the game with an ace.
There followed a succession of comfortable holds until the Serb served for the set at 5-3. He sent down three aces and then an unreturnable serve to take the set in 40 minutes.
The second set followed a similar pattern, and again one early break was enough for Djokovic to move further ahead.
A double fault and a long forehand from the Italian set up three break points, and although he managed to save two of them, another errant forehand gave Djokovic the crucial break.
Then came a moment of controversy. A noticeably late grunt from Djokovic made on a backhand winner was called as a ‘hindrance’ by the umpire, reversing the point in Sinner’s favour.
Then, in the very same game Djokovic was given a time violation for running the serving clock down beyond zero.
Djokovic complained but used all his experience to eventually see out the game – and back-up his break for a 3-1 lead.
Sinner saved two more break points at 2-4, but was still playing catch-up, and at 5-4 an ace and a fine forehand cross-court pass set-up three set points for the Serb. He needed two of them, sending down an ace at 40-15 to take a two-set lead.
The third set was a much tighter affair, with relatively comfortable holds until it stood at 4-5, with the champion serving to stay in the set.
He netted to give Sinner 15-30 and then, almost unbelievably, hit a forehand wide for 15-40, and two set points for the Italian.
Djokovic appeared angered by the crowd when he needed a second serve at 15-40, but after saving the two set points he cupped his ears – drawing boos from Centre Court – and went on to level at 5-5.
But Sinner was running through his games the more comfortable of the two at this stage, forcing Djokovic to again serve to stay in the set at 5-6.
Djovokic took it to a tie-break thanks to a perfectly weighted forehand winner.
Sinner took a 2-0 lead in the breaker thanks to an equally fine forehand. But he surrendered his advantage with a double fault – and some great play at the net gave Djokovic the lead 4-3 – still on serve.
Sinner responded, an explosive forehand making it 4-4.
But then came the vital mini-break, Sinner hitting a relatively simple backhand into the net for 4-5.
The champion was two points – both on his serve – away from another final.
Sinner netted another forehand, to set up two match points.
And a backhand into the net from the Italian sealed the win for Djokovic.
Novak Djokovic v Jannik Sinner on Centre Court today (Picture: Charlie Stong)
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