Novak Djokovic cruises past Sinner to reach Wimbledon final

Novak Djokovic cruises past Sinner to reach Wimbledon final

Novak Djokovic cruised past subdued Italian eighth seed Jannik Sinner at Wimbledon, reaching a record 35th Grand Slam final with a breezy 6-3 6-4 7-6(4) win under the Centre Court roof on Friday.

Djokovic has made the famous show court his own personal domain having not lost there in 10 years and the Serbian is one victory away from a record-equalling eighth men’s title at the grasscourt major to match Roger Federer’s mark.

Top seed Carlos Alcaraz or Russian Daniil Medvedev are the only ones who can stop Djokovic from claiming a 24th Grand Slam title that would equal Margaret Court’s all-time record.

The 21-year-old Sinner was outplayed, failing to rise to the occasion and allowing Djokovic, 14 years his elder, to dominate at key moments in the match.

He wasted break points, including two set points in the third, while Djokovic was ruthless as usual, putting constant pressure on the Italian’s serve and seizing opportunities when they came.

The second seed sealed the match when Sinner hit a backhand into the net, leaving the Serbian to acknowledge the applause of the crowd, who had supported his opponent throughout.

Djokovic shows no signs of slowing down as he ages and will be a strong favourite to become the oldest man in the Open era at 36 to win the Wimbledon title.

“I’d like to believe that’s the case,” he said when asked if he was playing the best tennis of his career.

“We are part of an individual sport so you have to rely on yourself and put yourself in the best physical and mental state before heading out on court.

“I feel 36 is the new 26, it feels pretty good. I feel a lot of motivation.”

The difference between the best and the rest is often their ability to lift their game when it counts and while Sinner’s best moments came when the pressure was off, Djokovic produced his best when the stakes were high.

The first two games were a summary of the match with Sinner having two break points and wasting them both, before Djokovic attacked the Italian’s serve and set up a break point that he took when Sinner hit a forehand wide.

Sinner then missed another chance to break in the fifth game, leaving Djokovic to breeze through the rest of the opener.

Djokovic won only six points on the Sinner serve in the first set, but that was all he required, celebrating with a fist pump as he walked back to his seat.

The Serbian set up three more break points in the third game of the second set, with Sinner saving the first two before hitting a forehand long to fall behind again.

Perhaps the biggest battle in the second set was between Djokovic and the umpire Richard Haigh, who gave Sinner a point in the fourth game after penalising Djokovic for letting out a scream long after hitting the ball.

The Serbian’s habit of bouncing the ball for a long time before serving earned him a code violation in the same game but even these interventions failed to get him worked up as he stayed calm to wrap up the second set with little more drama.

Sinner showed some resilience to save three break points to go 2-1 up in the third set but when his own chance to strike came he was once again lacking.

The Italian earned two set points on the Djokovic serve at 4-5, but was off target with a backhand on the first and then passed up the second when he missed with a wild forehand swing.

He briefly moved into the lead in the tiebreak with a mini-break but Djokovic did not want to hang around, eventually setting up match point when Sinner fluffed a shot into the net and then finishing it off when the Italian netted a backhand.

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