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Wimbledon 2021 Results: Men's Final Score and Early US Open Predictions

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2021

Serbia's Novak Djokovic kisses the winners trophy as he poses for photographers after he defeated Italy's Matteo Berrettini in the men's singles final on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

The year of Novak Djokovic rolls on. The Serbian superstar captured a record-tying 20th Grand Slam title Sunday with a four-set win (6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3) over Matteo Berrettini in the 2021 Wimbledon men's singles final.

Here's a look at how the match ended:

Wimbledon @Wimbledon

The moment @DjokerNole became #Wimbledon champion for the sixth time https://t.co/5xN8ogWYYT

The victory in London brings Djokovic level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most major championships in men's tennis history. It also sets him up for one of the great years in the history of the sport.

After winning the Australian and French Opens earlier this year, Djokovic can earn a record 21st major and complete a rare calendar Grand Slam if he wins the U.S. Open in September. Djokovic has even said he will play at the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo, so he might squeeze in a gold medal this year if his incredible run of form continues (no man has completed a so-called "Golden Slam").

Even with so much potential glory ahead of him, Djokovic clearly appreciated the current moment in his post-match interview.

"From a seven-year-old boy in Serbia constructing a Wimbledon trophy out of improvised materials to be here with my sixth Wimbledon trophy, it's incredible" he said, per the ESPN broadcast.

Berrettini, playing in his first-ever Grand Slam final, brought his trademark blistering serve with him to Centre Court on Sunday, notching 16 aces to Djokovic's five, per Wimbledon.com. The runner-up even had more winners overall (57-31), but in the end made far too many mistakes (48 unforced errors) and struggled to win points when Djokovic moved off the baseline and sent off-speed shots his way.

Alberto Pezzali/Associated Press

Even with the mistakes, the 25-year-old Berrettini looked like he might have a shot at getting revenge on Djokovic for knocking him out of this year's French Open. Djokovic had him pinned down early on, racing out to a 5-2 lead in the first set. But the big Italian settled in, relying on a strong first serve to make it 5-3 and then capitalizing on a few errors from Djokovic to win a break in the ninth game. The two men traded sets, and then Berrettini shocked the crowd, and his opponent, by winning the tiebreaker.

Djokovic, showing the kind of steely resolve that has backed up his immense talents for years now, righted the ship after dropping just his second-set of the tournament. He cut down on the errors (10 in the first set, seven combined in the next two) and showed a deft touch when coming to the net.

Typically dominant on the baseline, the light touch on the serve-and-volley helped him get out of some tough spots, as Tennis Magazine's Steve Tignor pointed out:

Steve Tignor @SteveTignor

Djokovic's net game making a difference. 25/35 up there; saved both BPs at 3-2 by coming in; made a great low volley to get to set point at 5-4. He's up 2 sets to 1. #Wimbledon

The New York Times' Christopher Clarey also highlighted the contrasting weapons of the two players:

Christopher Clarey @christophclarey

Best duel in this match, for me, is not the explosive Berrettini serve vs the Djokovic return It's the explosive Berrettini inside-out forehand vs the Djokovic backhand Djokovic winning both duels for now, but it's close #getty https://t.co/Qkl1KTd0XS

The fourth and ultimately final set brought out the best of the indefatigable Djokovic. A tough rally in the fifth game, with Djokovic down 3-2 in the set and behind on points, saw the 34-year-old Serbian sprint across the court and hit an incredible drop-shot winner. Live Tennis provided an angle of the shot:

Live Tennis @livetennis

The reflexes. 🤩 @DjokerNole | #Wimbledon https://t.co/xBeWzZG7HL

Berrettini couldn't help but smile at the brilliant shotmaking, and Djokovic evened the set at 3-3. The eventual champion broke Berrettini in the next game and then held serve to go up 5-3. Berrettini did his best to hang on serving in the ninth game, but he couldn't derail history. On the third championship point, Berrettini sent a soft shot into the net, and Djokovic dropped to his back in relief, basking in the glory of his 20th major championship after three hours and 24 minutes of play.

      

Early US Open Predictions

Djokovic will be facing immense pressure in New York with a calendar Grand Slam on the line. Only two other players have ever pulled off the feat in men's singles play: Don Budge in 1938, and Rod Laver in 1962 and again in 1969. No man has even won the first three majors in a year since Laver in '69, so Djokovic will be playing in territory that's gone uncharted for decades. 

So who might play spoiler? Berrettini and his booming serve might be in the mix. He's in fine form this year, and even made it to the U.S. Open semifinals in 2019, where he eventually lost to Rafael Nadal in straight sets.

That year's champion, Daniil Medvedev, will also be one to watch. He's the current world No. 2, trailing only Djokovic, and is 17-3 on hard courts this year, per ATPTour.com. Look for him to make a strong run after losing to Hubert Hurkacz in the round of 16 at Wimbledon.

When it comes to the two other members of the Big Three, look for Nadal to make more of an impact this year. Both he and Federer will be highly motivated to beat Djoker to Grand Slam title No. 21, but Nadal is in better shape to do so. He reached the final in 2019, losing to Medvedev and should be well rested this time around after withdrawing from Wimbledon and the Olympic Games. A run to the semifinal or final seems likely.

All this said, it feels like there's something inevitable about Djokovic's play in the big moments this year. He won the Australian Open playing through an abdominal injury, and then came back from two sets against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the French Open final. Denis Shapovalov played some truly incredible tennis against Djokovic in the Wimbledon semifinal but couldn't even take a set. 2021 is not the year to bet against one of the best to ever step on a court.

Prediction: Djokovic wins 2021 U.S. Open