Novak Djokovic Defeats Berrettini to Win 2021 Wimbledon Final for 20th Major Title

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 11, 2021

Serbia's Novak Djokovic plays a return to Italy's Matteo Berrettini during the men's singles final on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Novak Djokovic earned his 20th Grand Slam title Sunday with a 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 win over Matteo Berrettini in the Wimbledon men's final.

Wimbledon @Wimbledon

The moment <a href="https://twitter.com/DjokerNole?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DjokerNole</a> became <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a> champion for the sixth time <a href="https://t.co/5xN8ogWYYT">pic.twitter.com/5xN8ogWYYT</a>

The latest title puts Djokovic in a three-way tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most in men's tennis history. It also marks his third straight Wimbledon championship and third straight Grand Slam victory in 2021 after also winning the Australian Open and French Open.

It simply adds to an incredible resume as one of the greatest of all time in the sport. He also honored the other two superstars in the sport after the latest win.

"I have to pay a great tribute to Rafa and Roger," Djokovic told the crowd. "They are legends of our sport and the two most important players I faced in my career. They're the reason I am where I am today."

Roger Federer @rogerfederer

Congrats Novak on your 20th major. I'm proud to have the opportunity to play in a special era of tennis champions. Wonderful performance, well done!

The No. 1 seed needed to come from behind Sunday after dropping the first set, but he came through when it mattered and went 34-of-48 (71 percent) on net points on the way to a four-set win over Berrettini. 

While most entered the day expecting an easy Djokovic victory, a thrilling first set showed this wasn't going to be the case.

An early break gave the Serbian a 5-2 advantage in the opening set, but Berrettini refused to concede and fought his way back with wins in the next three games to eventually force a tiebreak. 

The Italian sealed the first set with an ace in the tiebreak.

While the play was solid, the mentality to fight back especially got people's attention:

Anand Datla @SportASmile

Gutsy effort from Berrettini. He was down 1-4, then 2-5. <br><br>The eighth game lasted 21 points. Yes. The Italian saved a set point too. <br><br>Broke Djokovic in the ninth to push the set back on serve. <br><br>Wins the first set 7-4 in a tiebreaker. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Djokovic?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Djokovic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Berrettini?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Berrettini</a>

Dan Wolken @DanWolken

Boy, it’s normally Novak Djokovic pulling out sets where he gets outplayed for the majority of it. Not this time. Berrettini storms back from a terrible start to win the first set of the Wimbledon final.

Mark McFadden @MarkMcFadden

From 2-5 down in the first set against Djokovic and coming back to win it on the tie-break. Just brilliant, gutsy play from Berrettini. 🎾<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Avanti?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Avanti</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForzaItalia?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForzaItalia</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BerrettiniDjokovic?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BerrettiniDjokovic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Berrettini?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Berrettini</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WimbledonFinal?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WimbledonFinal</a>

There was a similar story in the second set, with Djokovic seemingly calming down on the way to a double-break and a 4-0 advantage. He went up 5-1 while only dropping three total points in his first three service games of the set.

Once again, Berrettini showed his resolve and got it to 5-4 before eventually losing the set.

Paul Waldie @pwaldieGLOBE

All level at Wimbledon and not the crushing display from Djokovic many expected. Berrettini still has a real chance.

The third set was competitive as well, although Berrettini was overaggressive at times and it cost him.

Djokovic had just three unforced errors in a 6-4 third-set victory, compared to nine from his opponent.

Sushant Mehta @SushantNMehta

Berrettini is good but no one can afford unforced errors against Djokovic.

Mihir Bose @mihirbose

Djokovic is 2-1 ahead not because he is at his imperious best, he is not. But because Berrettini is making mistakes. Djokovic has also slowed down the pace. His serve is still not at its best.

A few key points also made a significant difference, as Djokovic saved two break points while winning his only break opportunity in the set.

The favorite then reminded people what he can do in the fourth set, coming through with some iconic moments to seal the win. Down 15-30 in the sixth game of the set, Djokovic covered an incredible amount of ground to save the point and eventually find a key winner.

George Bellshaw @BellshawGeorge

Point of the match from Novak Djokovic. Absolutely incredible sprint to a drop-shot and pass after some ludicrous defending. Gets a standing ovation from the Centre Court crowd. Amazing.

Andrew Cunneen @Cunneen92

That Djokovic point for 30-30 is one of the best he's ever won. My word.

The Tennis Podcast @TennisPodcast

Standing ovation for Djokovic on Centre Court as he wins point of the match at 2-3, 15-30.<br><br>Unbelievable court speed from Djokovic to chase down the ball &amp; control an oblique cross-court flick. <br><br>Berrettini grins, tosses his racquet up &amp; catches it. What can you do?

Djokovic went on to win that game before following it up with a break in the next one, representing a major momentum swing in the match.

He eventually closed it out, winning the last four games on the way to a hard-fought victory.

Jessie Pegula @JLPegula

Djokovic is one of the toughest if not the toughest athlete I’ve ever seen. Just no weakness. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a>

Berrettini tallied 16 aces with 57 winners in the biggest match of his career, but he only earned two breaks in total. This wasn't enough to beat the No. 1 player in the world, who brought home a Wimbledon title for the sixth time in his career. 

Djokovic will now try to become the first person since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four Grand Slam events in a single calendar year. The last step will be the U.S. Open, scheduled to begin on August 30.


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