As Wimbledon nears its end there are a few dark horses remaining looking to snatch the title from both the men’s and women’s number one who have dominated the past two weeks at The Championships.
Angie is no match for Ash
Ash Barty’s second grand slam final has been two years in the making. Following her French Open victory in 2019, she’s fallen short despite holding the world number one rank. It was only natural that she’d have to face the only former Wimbledon champion to get there.
Angelique Kerber returned to form at long last on the grass courts of Wimbledon.
Following two first-round exits at the Australian and French Opens expectations weren’t high for the German but she proved at The Championships that despite being down in the first half of the year she certainly wasn’t out.
It was a semi-final many expected to go to three sets and after a dominant first set from Barty, it seemed the script had been flipped and this would be the semi-final that was done and dusted all too soon.
The world number one was on the back foot early in the second, going down 3-0 early and despite managing to hold her serve it was soon 5-2 with Kerber one game away from sending the match to a third.
But Barty has a knack for turning a bad start to a set around all too quickly and after holding her serve, she demolished Kerber in a 40-love game to break, backing that up with a second consecutive 40-love game.
Kerber managed to hold her serve in the next game despite the threat of a breakpoint looming over her and Barty hit three winners in her’s to force a tiebreak.
From there it was all Barty, winning the first 6 points in the tiebreak, Kerber had a near-impossible fight on her hands and despite clawing back three points, the Australian wasted no time and won the match off her own serve to reach the final.
The semi-final between Karolina Pliskova and Aryna Sabalenka also went off script, with many expecting the second seed to dominate and reach her first Grand Slam Final.
The Belarussian was under siege early with Pliskova threatening to break throughout the first set but failing to convert. Including having four break points in the 11th game.
Sabalenka on the other hand only needed one opportunity and she didn’t waste it, closing out the set with a break in the final game of the set.
Pliskova seemed undeterred, keenly aware that she had the upper hand in this match and it showed in her service game, serving five aces in the second set, and taking the break early in a 40-love game which she backed up serving three successive aces in the next game and snatching the final point by forcing an error from Sabalenka.
For the remainder of the set, she never looked like wavering, holding her own serve and taking at least two points in each game off of the Belarussian’s serve.
Pliskova broke Sabalenka’s serve immediately in the third set, before winning another game 40-love.
Whilst the second seed rallied and tried to fight her way back into the match and into the final Pliskova was just too good off of her own serve and was unbothered by the fact that she couldn’t take another break away from Sabalenka.
Pliskova is now in her second Grand Slam Final, her first since 2016 but will have to beat the current world number one to get her first Grand Slam Title.
|Ash Barty 1
|Angelique Kerber 25
|Karolina Pliskova 8
|Aryna Sabalenka 2
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Only Berrettini stands in Djokovic’s way
At the beginning of The Championships, few would have thought Matteo Berrettini was a real chance of reaching the final. Falling on the bottom half of the draw, top players Federer, Zverev and Medvedev were all considered to be far better chances of surviving six matches play in the final.
Luckily for the Italian, 14th seed Hubert Hurkacz ended Medvedev and Federer’s campaigns in the fourth round and quarter-final respectively. It was exactly why he was suddenly an incredibly dangerous semi-final opponent.
The seventh seed was still the favourite heading into the match despite the Polish star’s recent record, and it was the sixth game of the first set where that shone through. Berrettini’s composure allowed for him to finish off an eight-minute game that went to deuce four times, to hold his serve.
From there, the Italian unleashed. Winning 11 consecutive games to finish off the first set, claim the second in a whitewash and begin the third 1-0 up.
Hurkacz had to dig deep to get some motivation to stay in the match. The underdog had the crowd behind him trying to energise and get the match to a fourth set and with that backing and plenty of fist pumps to psych himself up he turned it around.
It was a nail biter third set with both players threatening to break but never quite getting there and when it went to a tie break, the Italian blinked first. Up 5-1 the fourth set was in Hurkacz’s grasp and not even a last gasp effort could bring Berrettini back into it.
The seventh seed wasn’t shaken, however, breaking the Hurkacz’s serve in the first game of the fourth and holding his serve without any trouble at all from the Polish star.
From there all Berrettini had to do to reach his maiden Grand Slam Final was hold his serve and he did just that comfortably holding his own serve and threatening to break several times but only staying the one break up.
Novak Djokovic and 2021 Grand Slam Final seem to go hand in hand, as the Serbian reached his third Grand Slam Final of the year.
The world number one hasn’t appeared shaken at Wimbledon this year. Undeterred by the short turnaround following his French Open Title it was clear from the outset he wasn’t fazed by the prospect of facing 10th seed.
Nor should he have been, Denis Shapovalov put up a solid fight forcing a tiebreak in the first set but he lacked the finishing power to take the first away from the world number one.
The Canadian battled on but couldn’t take a break away from Djokovic in the second and third sets, however, Djokovic continued to give him a taste only taking the break from Shapovalov in the 11th game of the final two sets.
The Serbian is chasing his 20th Grand Slam Title and now only Matteo Berrettini stands in his way.
|Matteo Berrettini 7
|Hubert Hurkacz 14
|Novak Djokovic 1
|Denis Shapovalov 10
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