Novak Djokovic Beats Denis Shapovalov to Advance to 2021 Wimbledon Men's Final

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 9, 2021

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning a point against Canada's Denis Shapovalov during their men's singles semi-final match on the eleventh day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 9, 2021. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

Top seed Novak Djokovic advanced to the men's final at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships with a straight-sets victory over 10th-seeded Denis Shapovalov on Friday at the All England Club in London.

Djokovic, who won the Australian Open in February and the French Open in June, recorded 33 winners and eight aces to move one step closer to his third straight major title, which would also keep his hopes alive to become the first men's player to win the calendar Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969.

Wimbledon @Wimbledon

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a> title No.6 is in reach.<br><br>Defending champion <a href="https://twitter.com/DjokerNole?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DjokerNole</a> is into his seventh final at The Championships with a straight sets victory over Denis Shapovalov <a href="https://t.co/QpyX7Ho0eZ">pic.twitter.com/QpyX7Ho0eZ</a>

The five-time Wimbledon champion moves on to face No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini in Sunday's final.

Shapovalov was making his first appearance in a major semifinal. He finished with 40 winners and 36 unforced errors.

Djokovic, who lost the opening set in his first-round match against Jack Draper, has won 18 consecutive sets since that point to reach the final. He's also won 20 straight matches at Wimbledon as the tournament's two-time defending champion from 2018 and 2019. Last year's event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 19-time Grand Slam champion bounced back from a rare inefficient performance against Marton Fucsovics in the quarterfinals (23 winners and 30 unforced errors) with a more typical outing to dispatch a gamely Shapovalov, including just 15 errors and three key breaks of the heavy-hitting Canadian's serve.

All three of those breaks came at critical moments—one in the latter stages of each set—to help the 34-year-old Serbian superstar take control of an otherwise closely contested match.

Shapovalov, 22, didn't play poorly, but he just couldn't come up with the game-changing moment he needed, as illustrated by the fact he converted just one of his 11 break-point chances.

"I don't think that the scoreline (7-6, 7-5, 7-5) says enough about the performance and about the match," Djokovic said during his on-court interview after the win. "He was serving for the first set and he was probably the better player for most of the second set."

Djokovic, who can tie longtime rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal atop the all-time list with 20 Grand Slam titles if he wins Sunday, will likely be a heavy favorite in the final.

He's won both prior ATP Tour meetings against Berrettini, including a four-set win at the French Open last month. It's the first time the 25-year-old Italian will be playing with a major title on the line.

Sunday's championship match is scheduled for 9 a.m. ET and will air on ESPN.